Women removing hijabs and making their names more 'English' to avoid discrimination when applying for work

by Natasha Wynarczyk

Employment REX

A report has suggested women from ethnic minorities are removing hijabs and making their names sound more 'English' in order to beat discrimination when applying for jobs.

This comes after a report by the parliamentary all-party committee found ethnic minority women were twice as likely to be unemployed as white women of the same age and experience, with a quarter of unemployed Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black women being rejected from jobs due to prejudice.

According to the Guardian newspaper, some employers thought Muslim women in particular would stop working after giving birth.

Many women complained to researchers about being asked about their marital status and family plans during interviews, and some said they had been put off applying for jobs due to fears of discrimination.

It also claimed some employers' attitudes towards applicants became more discriminatory when they realised women with European-sounding names were black.

The report states: 'Discrimination was found to be present at every stage of the recruitment process – when assessing applications, during interviews, at recruitment agencies and also in the workplace itself.

'Muslim women who wear the hijab reported discrimination and women of all three ethnic groups reported questions asked about intentions regarding marriage and children.

'This was often tied to assumptions based on ethnicity – for example it was assumed that Muslim women would want to stop work after having children.

'Other issues identified as barriers to employment include language issues, cultural attitudes towards women, qualifications and lack of social capital.

'We believe that evidence shows that there are varied and complex barriers facing Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women which are different from those facing white women or ethnic minority men.'

Chair of the group Labour MP David Lammy told the Guardian it was 'staggering' women felt they had to remove the hijab to get work.

He added: 'All unemployment is tragic but we simply can no longer remain so casual about women that are simultaneously the victims of both sexism and racism when they are competing in the labour market,” he said. “It has massive implications for families and society as a whole.'

Have you ever been worried about discrimination while applying for jobs? Let us know in the comments below.

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