Turkish-Muslim women living in Europe complain about discrimination against them in their job applications.
A recent research study revealed the discrimination experienced by headscarved women in job applications in Europe. Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and the German Center for Integration and Migration Research recently conducted a joint field survey on the discrimination faced by religious minorities seeking jobs in the three European labor markets: Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain.
The study revealed that women wearing headscarves in Germany and the Netherlands face serious discrimination in job applications. Women wearing headscarves, who were able to overcome prejudices and get a job, told that the real discrimination is on the street and gave examples of the racism they went through.
"I encounter racist and discriminatory treatment in my daily life rather than in my business life. Sometimes this is a bad and sarcastic look, sometimes a verbal insult. I was born in Germany, grew up, studied, and took up my profession. Yet, we are still not accepted. My headscarved cousins wanted to work as sales reps but were asked to take off their headscarves. This shouldn't happen anymore," said Elif Yurtten, a nurse.
Pedagogue Gülbeyaz Kılıç also said: "The vice principal of my first school thought I was a cleaner. I can never forget the expression on his face when I say that I am a pedagogue. They look at your appearance and question your language ability and identity. Especially the glances on public transport vehicles and the insults you hear from some people while passing by them are very disturbing."
"I work with children with disabilities in German schools and nurseries. As I was driving with my six-year-old daughter and the little boy in a stroller, a German pointed at me and said, 'Did you have these stupid children?' He insulted everyone publicly. For some people, if your name, skin, or hair color is different, this can cause racism," according to Hatice Demirtaş who is a teacher.
"I applied to many training centers for jobs. Either there was no response or I was getting a negative response. One day I sent my resume without a photo and was quickly contacted. When I went to the interview, the facial expression of the woman who greeted me changed. In the interview, I was told that my features are suitable for the job, I was asked if I could take off my hijab. I wasn't hired when I said I couldn't take it off," said Meliha Bayrak, a social pedagogue.
The findings of the experiment were shared in an article published by Oxford Academic this month titled "Discrimination Unveiled: A Field Experiment on the Barriers Faced by Muslim Women in Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain.”
The study was conducted with the same people's curriculum vitae (CV) by using the same content and information with both veiled and unveiled photos.
As the photos on CVs show whether that person wears a hijab or not, the "cross-nationally harmonized” experiment aimed to demonstrate to what extent the responses these people receive from employers differ.
The results in the Netherlands proved that 35% of women with headscarves got responses from employers, while this rate rose to 70% among those not wearing them.
The experiment claimed a similar scenario in Germany, showing that 25% of the veiled candidates and 53% of the unveiled ones received responses.
"Muslims are perceived by the public at large as a difficult-to-integrate group, mainly due to their conservative gender role attitudes and high levels of religiosity, which are seemingly at odds with European values and the secular lifestyles of Western societies,” the article stressed.
"Robust evidence that veiled Muslim women are discriminated against in Germany and the Netherlands, but only when applying for jobs that require a high level of customer contact,” it presented
"In Spain, however, the level of discrimination against veiled Muslim women is much smaller than in the other two countries,” it stated.
To give statistical data, the research underscored that 48.5% of unveiled Muslim women received responses from employers in the Dutch labor market, while this number decreased to 34.5% among veiled Muslim women.
In Germany, even though employers responded to the job applications of half of the unveiled Muslim women, they did not give any response to 75% of the Muslim women with headscarves.