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Discrimination Against Muslim Women in the UK

Muslim women experience both religious and gender discrimination in the UK. Much of the discrimination is depicted by the harassment and abuse at the workplace and in public. The double-bind discrimination comprises of sexism, and misconceptions surrounding their beliefs including harmful stereotypes about what they believe in and what their practice. Muslims undergo discrimination at in schools and employment. The picture is a demonstration of the problems that Muslims go through when attempting to make social progress in the UK. The discriminatory practices against the women at their workplace include pregnancy discrimination, an ever-enlarging pay gap, and racial profiling during job application process. Because of the discrimination that they face, the Muslim women find themselves at the lowest stratum within the UK’s mix of the ethno-cultural and racial system. This essay demonstrates that the discrimination that Muslim women experience in the UK results from their failure to subdue to the mainstream majority demands for assimilation.

The Muslims living in the UK is approximately 3 million. Discrimination against them escalated recently, especially after the incidents of Paris and London (Manchester) attacks (Aljazeera News). The hate crime that is anti-Muslim in London increased and the London Bridge Car and stabbing attacks that led to seven fatalities. In the Northern city of Manchester, the hate crime intensified by five hundred percent after the deadly suicide bombing in a pop concert. When speaking to the mainstream media, the women are forced to hide their faces to avoid being recognized (Nicholson). After the 9/11, the women were forced to change their roles. For example, they began taking the roles of their husbands after they were increasingly changed and imprisoned with terrorism. Additionally, the surveillance of the women has increased tremendously after the terrorism incidences. The Islamophobia is equivalent to Kenjo Yoshina’s argument that under some circumstances, severe punishment of people that claim openly that they are different from the rest.

Muslim the women are less likely to graduate or have a graduate level job that is similar to their Christian women counterparts with equivalent qualification as a result of the discrimination. This paper establishes that the discrimination that Muslim women experience emanates from the dogmatic society that celebrates the mainstream culture while demonizing the culture of the minorities. On the basis of economic activity, the Muslim women have a lower likelihood of being economically inactive (Easton).  When they communicate over the phone, the tone is friendly but during face to face interviews, the tone changes adversely. Only 35 percent of the Muslim women are unemployed d compared to 69 percent of their non-Muslim counterparts. The situation translates to a reduction in the positive attitude of women towards applying for jobs. The young Muslims, including women, tend to be unemployed, underemployed and face insecurity in their employment. Their pay also tends to be lower than the rest of the society. Only 20% of the Muslims aged between 16 and 74 years are likely to be employed as opposed to their counterparts whose employment rate is 30%. In addition, only 6% of the Muslims are likely to be employed as managers and executives, administrators and professionals. The figure is different from that of Christians whose rate of employment is approximately 10%.

The problem is exacerbated by the patriarchal attitudes of the Muslim society where women are expected to fulfill their traditional role of wives and mothers. The reduced likelihood to succeed in the labor market is as a result of Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination. There is an enormous social mobility challenge holds the women from achieving their full potential at every stage of their lives. The barriers to social mobility are widespread, ranging from schools, higher education to workplaces.

Within the popular culture, the women are perceived as disloyal and a threat to the societies as opposed to being acknowledged as a disadvantaged community. Many employers are less likely to hire the qualified Muslims, especially when there are candidates from their own groups or other groups of other religions that are perceived as less threatening. As a result, the Muslim women are less likely to have any job compared to British women that are of a similar age and with similar qualifications. Nonetheless, after applying for jobs, they are less likely to receive replies, unlike their white counterparts.  The discrimination extends to interviews. The employers pay attention to the name, cultural and religious dress, and marriage, childcare, and family aspirations during job interviews. As a result, they are more likely to be forced to answer questions regarding their expectations about love and marriage. Approximately half of the Muslim women admit that they are discriminated against during job interviews.

Nearly 20% of the UK ‘employers are hesitant to hire Muslim women because of their assumptions and stereotypes about Muslim childcare. They are also victims of gender-based pay equity at the workplaces. The women are easy targets for exclusion because they express their religious identity through clothing, which in turn makes them easily noticed easily. To establish the faith of a woman, attire such as hijabs is the major symbol. Wearing a hijab at the workplace is a visual marker of difference that leads to further discrimination by coworkers. Most of the women assert that they have missed on opportunities as a result of the faith that they profess. Ideally, by the targeting is an indicator of criticism of the cultures that are indifferent as suggested by Kenji Yoshina in “Preface.”  In the essay, Kenji asserts that minorities are expected to cover up their culture and conform to the majority culture by wearing clothes that are acceptable in the mainstream culture. Yoshida argues that when covering up, people that are indifferent from others are forced to work out their identities and jobs in order to conform to the mainstream society. The force to act as Christians emanates from of the white supremacy. The majority expects the women to disfavor personal identity to fit into the mainstream culture in particular way with a goal is to manage the public image. With such sense of conforming, can change their names in an effort to change their identities (preface).Despite that it depicts the essence of assimilation, covering holds groups back.

In the public, the adverse perceptions about the Muslim women are prevalent. Some people shout to them that they should not go beheading people, further revealing that they are linked with terrorist groups such as ISIS. Verbal harassment against Muslim women in public areas is also common. Some people spit on the women while others attempt to rip off their hijab off, especially after the incidences associated with religion occur such as high profile terrorist attacks such as the recent Paris Attacks and bombings in Brussels. Such verbal harassment extends to online social platforms. Several troll accounts and websites have been created on the social media to single out and target Muslim women for wearing religious clothing such as hijabs. Criticizing the wearing of hijabs is a reflection of punishment for expressing themselves openly that their culture is different from the culture of the majority.

The experiences of the women can be viewed from the eye of stereotyping. Their patriarchal society casts a blind eye on the issue of discrimination against Muslim women. For example, despite that feminine movements purport to promote the rights of women, they seem to forget the Muslims women. It is the role of the government to create a level playing field for Muslim women and activists. However, women activism is prohibited in Islam, thereby making it hard for the women to get off the hook of the sufferings. Islam emphasizes the career of the women as homemakers and caregivers. The culture also compels them to cover their hair and face as a sign of their adherence to the Islamic faith. Nonetheless, legal frameworks are blind on the issue leading to the tired system of treatment. If the situation is allowed to persist, then it implies that the cohesion in the UK’s multicultural and multiethnic society is at undermines the willingness to integrate into the wider society. In Kenji Yoshina’s “The New Civil Rights”, the inability to address the issue effectively is as a result of failure to rise into the new and more inclusive register in addressing the issue. Expecting the Muslim women to act like the mainstream majority for their issues to be addressed by the law is similar to forcing them to cover up their differences instead of allowing them to receive legal protection for behaviors that they have a capacity to control (New York Times. P7). It is the respect of a particular identity that the word mainstream make sense (New York Times p.8).The UK society can enhance the rights for everyone, including the minorities by leaving people with unique identities such as the Muslim women free to develop their human capacities without the impediment of witless conformity. The UK society should think within and outside the law to enable the women to enjoy their rights. The implementation of civil rights laws should shift from satisfying the UK majority group to liberty for everyone by stripping protections given to the majority such as demonizing the attire of the Muslim minorities.


In conclusion, the discrimination that Muslim women experience in the UK results from their unwillingness to cover up their identity and act in accordance with the wishes of the majority. The women face discrimination because of their gender, religion, and ethnicity. Additionally, they are the most disadvantaged and economically and socially deprived communities in Britain. Their levels of economic inactivity and unemployment are astronomical. More so, the women are perceived as uninformed, passive and uninterested in activities that are beyond their doorstep. Wearing an Islamic dress makes the mainstream media perceive them as people holding onto backward faith and a disruption to the western way of life.

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