Do the Netherlands and Germany discriminate against veiled job seekers?

A study has revealed that only 35% job applications accompanied by a picture of a veiled woman candidate received an interview call or job offer


A recent study has revealed that women job candidates whose resumes were accompanied by their photographs in a veil hardly received a positive response in Netherlands and Germany.

This discrimination came to light in an academic report in the European Sociological Review journal.

The discrimination became clear when hardly any of the veiled candidates were considered for any of the jobs that required personal / face-to-face interaction with customers.

The study also discovered that such discrimination was comparatively less in Spain.

The three researchers tried to find out whether the companies harboured some bias against all Muslim applicants, irrespective of being veiled or not, or whether they discriminated only against those who wore a veil/hijab or headscarf.

As part of the study, the researchers sent two applications per candidate — one resume accompanied by a veiled photograph of the candidate and one without the veil— for the posts of shop assistants, cooks, receptionists, hairdressers, sales personnel and so on. None of the jobs applied for required high educational qualifications. For the unveiled candidates, their religion was revealed via the charity / volunteer work they did at a religious centre.

What was common across these posts/jobs was that they required interaction with customers, and that too face-to-face.

About 70 per cent of the applications that came with photographs of unveiled women received a call from the organisations in Netherland. On the other hand, only 35 per cent of the candidates who sent their veiled photographs with their resumes received a positive response/call from the organisations.

Considering that the Netherlands has been quite liberal in accommodating religious minority rights, this kind of discrimination came as a big surprise.

In Germany, 53 per cent of the unveiled Muslim women applicants received a positive call or job offer from the organsiations they applied to. However, only about 25 per cent of the veiled women got a call from the employers. In Germany, studies have shown that it is not just the veiled women but even women who are not German that are discriminated against.

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