TORONTO – Ginella Massa, a news reporter for CityNews in Toronto, anchored her first newscast in Canada, becoming the first hijabi Muslim to achieve this significant milestone.
“I always wanted to work in broadcasting or media in some capacity, and my real desire was to be in front of the camera,” Ginella said in an interview with Huffington Post.
“But in the back of my mind I worried about whether I could make it very far in hijab.”
Appearing in Toronto’s CityNews last week, Ginella has become the first hijab-wearing news anchor in Canada.
She made history earlier in January 2015 after becoming Canada’s first hijab-wearing television news reporter.
Born in Panama, Ginella came to Canada with her mother when she was 1 year old.
Growing up in Toronto, she reverted to Islam from Catholicism at a young age.
Ginella, who became a role model for many Muslim women, gives credit for her professional success to her parents, especially to her mother.
“My parents always made me believe I could be whatever I wanted. Even when I had my own doubts about making it as a hijabi on TV, my mom always told me that just because it hadn’t been done before, didn’t mean it wasn’t possible,” she said.
“I think they believed I could achieve my goals even before I did.”
Canada has been at the forefront of countries that have embraced pluralism, workplace diversity and employment equity as pragmatic solutions to problems of prejudice, discrimination, and economic inequality.
Since decades, diversity has been the cornerstone of Canada’s policy imperative on matters such as national identity, social coherence and economic freedom.
Canada’s Muslims make up 3.2 percent of the national population, representing the second largest religious group after Christianity, and is one of the fastest growing segments of the Canadian population.