Experiences of Muslim Women in the Greater Toronto Area who Wear the Hijab on the Job

Most of the women in this article claim they have experienced few problems at work as a result of wearing the hijab in the workplace, except for the odd person assuming Muslim women are cloistered, uneducated and oppressed. In May of 2008 the Bouchard-Taylor Report similarly found that Muslim women in Quebec face discrimination in the job market for wearing the hijab and cited the case of a young woman who saw her job applications rejected by 50 pharmacies before she was finally able to land a job with an Arab pharmacist. In a 2002 study, No Hijab Is Permitted Here, conducted by Women Working with Immigrant Women and funded by the Canadian Heritage-Multiculturalism Program and Status of Women Canada found that more than 90% of participants had an employer make reference to the hijab when applying for a job; more than 40% claim they were told they must remove the hijab if they wanted a job (sample size not given). Fadwa Benmbarek who works with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says getting a new job is often the toughest part.