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Muslim women face job barriers in the UK

LONDON (Busra Akın Dincer) -Research about the U.K. has claimed that Muslim women face serious disadvantages in the British labor market.


Anadolu Agency spoke to Nabil Khattab, an associate professor at the Qatar-based Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, ahead on International Women’s Day on Friday.


Prof. Khattab said that British Muslim women were six times more likely to be unemployed compared to their non-Muslim white British counter parts.


"Muslim women's barriers in the labor market are complex. It consists of religious, ethnic, physical but also gender penalties.


“They are not only Muslim but they are also women who compete with men which makes them less advantaged than even Muslim men," Khattab told Anadolu Agency.


As a result of his studies on performance and patterns of participation in the U.K. labor market, Khattab found that the percentage of Muslim women working in professional and managerial jobs varies between 8.3 to 23 percent according to their different ethnic background.


This figure rises to 32 percent among mainstream white non-Muslim women.


"Even white British Muslim women, who are mostly converts … our recent study has shown that, they face penalties. Convergence is perceived as a shift from being one hundred percent white to less-white women," Khattab said.


According to his findings, first-generation Bangladeshi Muslim women are six times more likely to be unemployed than non-Muslim British white women with the same background.


Khattab said that the physical appearance or "cultural visibility" in public spaces was a significant factor in facing penalties.


He also said that not only the appearance but also factors that guide Muslim women to look for certain jobs, played a role in this situation.


"For example they do not prefer working in places where alcohol is served", he said adding that they are competing for a lower number of employment opportunities.


“While they are competing they face stereotyping, Islamophobia and perceptions of employers who have prejudices towards Muslims and women," he added.


Khattab has been studying Muslims in the U.K labor market for the past six years.


The research data in Dr. Khattab's studies was taken from labor force data from years between 2002 and 2013.


The study focused on samples of more than 245,000 individuals, among which more than 8,000 were Muslim women.

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