The downside of religious attire: The Muslim headscarf and expectations of obtaining employment



As laws are being passed or considered to ban certain forms of religious attire in the current international arena (France, Netherlands, Italy), it is important to address some of the concerns that Americans who wear religious attire might have. Based on stereotype threat theory, data from 219 American Muslim females were examined regarding their expectations of receiving job offers for a variety of occupations. Results indicated that Muslim women who wear the headscarf (Hijabis) had lower expectations of receiving a job offer than Muslim women who do not wear the hijab. This difference increased as the amount of public contact associated with the occupation decreased and job status of the occupation increased. Furthermore, work centrality moderated this relationship, but only for Muslim women who did not wear the headscarf. Implications of these findings with regard to Hijabis and occupational attainment are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.