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Birmingham Muslim Engineer Designs First PPE Hijab

A Birmingham engineer has designed a first PPE hijab to help hijab women embark on an engineering career without jeopardizing their safety.

Aminah Shafiq, a senior water quality advisor from Birmingham, had safety issues with her hijab during visits to operational sites; she got worried her hijab might get caught or that helmet would not fit properly.

Raising the issue with her Severn Trent bosses, she decided to create one.

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“As part of my role, I’m often asked to go to many of our operational sites and, as a Muslim woman, I always found this to be tricky when it came to covering my head and the challenges it could bring,” Aminah said, Birmingham Mail reported.

“Sometimes there can be excess material from my headscarf that I would worry could get caught, or could mean my helmet doesn’t always fit properly.”

She added: “I didn’t want my choice of covering my head to mean I couldn’t feel safe or comfortable, so with the full support of Severn Trent, I wanted to change that and designed our first PPE specific headscarf.”

Aminah said she took inspiration from headscarves designed for athletes as they have “less material and a snug fit” – perfect for wearing under helmets.

Encouraging

The new “light, cool material” hijab that would be comfortable throughout the day could pave the way for more Muslim women embarking on an engineering career.

“We now have our first PPE headscarf available for colleagues after Aminah Shafiq, one of our employees, designed a prototype that’s suitable for Muslim women who cover their hair that’s both practical and safe to wear under helmets,” a Severn Trent Water spokeswoman said.

“So, anyone who has to do site visits or has an operational role now has the option to use a specific PPE headscarf on site. This is really exciting.

“It’s inclusive, and specific for women who chose to cover their heads.

“We hope this will help encourage more Muslim women to join the engineering industry – and make colleagues feel more comfortable and safe on site, while still appropriately covering their hair.”

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

For Muslim women, religious beliefs and values determine the ways they structure and approach their life.

According to Islamic Fashion Design Council (IFDC), Muslims spent about $322 billion on fashion in 2018. The hijab fashion industry could reach $488 billion this year, WHYY reported.