Can I get a job if I wear Hijab? An exploratory study of the perceptions of South Asian Muslim Women in the US and the UAE

2014 IJRSP – Volume 3 Issue 1


Pasha-Zaidi, Nausheen*
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA (

Masson, Tiffany
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA (

Pennington, M. Nan
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, USA (


The impact of the Islamic headscarf (hijab) on employment opportunities in Western contexts has been explored in a number of studies, but there is limited information on the topic as it applies to Islamic mainstream contexts. The current study explores the impact of the hijab on perceptions of employability among South Asian Muslim women in the United States (US) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Perceptions of women that wear hijab (hijabis) and women that do not wear hijab (non-hijabis) were analyzed. Both hijabis and non-hijabis perceived that wearing hijab in the US lowered the chances of applicants receiving a job offer. In the UAE, however, the results were mixed with non-hijabis perceiving that hijab has a negative effect on employability and hijabis perceiving the opposite effect. Implications of the results are discussed.

Keywords: Hijab; Islamic headscarf; employability; Muslim women



*Corresponding Author