An inquiry by MPs entitled Employment Opportunities for Muslims in the UK found that Muslim women faced the “triple penalty” of “being women, being BME and being Muslim”. This is not surprising at all. We have been documenting this and telling governments for more than two decades, but it has always fallen on deaf ears.
The Inquiry found that one of the main reasons behind the suffering of Muslim women is the Government’s policies towards Muslims. They always paint British Muslims as a “suspect community”. The Inquiry says issues affecting Muslim women “should be separated from the Government’s work to challenge extremism.”
This then leads to discrimination in the work place. Muslim women are less likely to get a job compared to non-Muslim women. 65% of economically inactive Muslims are women.
The Inquiry was given many examples of the discrimination that Muslim women faced when applying for jobs and “heard evidence that Muslim women were more likely than white women to be asked questions about their marital status and family life.”
There is strong evidence for the rise of Islamophobia within wider society, and many individual Muslims are coming forward with stories of discrimination and the fear of discrimination within the workplace.
Even though the recommendations by the Inquiry of the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee are welcome, the Government, as we argued above, has to change its policies and narratives regarding the Muslim community, because the people who suffer the most, as a result, are Muslim women.