Two French Muslim women have launched a new website to help hijabi women to find job.
While public sector employees are not allowed to wear religious symbols or hijab, the private sector are free to decide their own policies, without declaring whether they accept hijab or no.
Therefore, Yasmine Derrouaz, 21, and Hanya Cheikh, 19, created JobHijab to save Muslim women from the frustration of applying for jobs that would later “require them to choose between their religion and their career”.
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The idea of the new website emerged as the pair knew many French Muslims who had felt forced to compromise on their values in order to provide for their families.
“We constantly receive messages from women who tell us they can’t stand having to take off their headscarf in front of their colleagues, and it breaks our hearts,” Cheikh told The Times. “It is a real humiliation.”
JobHijab lists only companies that are known to be open to staff wearing religious symbols. The jobs they feature also specify whether Muslim employees will be granted time for daily prayers.
So far, the pair have linked more than 100 Muslim women with jobs since starting their website in the summer.
Listing new positions every day, but with more than 30,000 followers across Instagram, Twitter and TikTok they cannot keep up with demand, which had been “very high”.
Derrouaz and Cheikh hope that by getting more Muslim women into the workplace they can challenge old prejudices.
“We are always reduced to our headscarf in France. People think we are incompetent or we are oppressed” said Derrouaz.
“It’s sad and it’s not true. That’s why we set up this website, to prove that we are not just our religion.”
What Muslim women choose to wear is a controversial topic in France. In 2004, it banned hijab in public schools, and in 2010, it became the first European nation to ban burqa, which covers a woman’s face.
Currently in France, a majority of Bar Councils, including the largest in Paris, have internal rules that do not allow religious symbols such as hijab.
Of Bar Councils representing 75% of practitioners, 56% have banned religious symbols to be worn with the gown, according to a survey requested by Poirret for this case.