By: Fati Aminu Ibrahim, GIJ
The subject of career and Islam for women essentially boils down to that piece of cloth on our heads as Muslims. There have been series of debate on this very issue. Non-Muslims have a wide misconception of what the hijab symbolizes. Whiles some associate it to oppression, others believe it is a sign of an alignment with some foreign cause.
Almost all career Muslim women out there can testify to the discrimination among prejudice they receive in the society. Especially one that has non-believers as the majority. The decision to veil affect our careers and even interactions with others. That however does not deter us from reaching out to our goals.
The struggle to make society see the need to understand that covering the head does not stifle the brain continues. It makes us work and compete harder. Wearing the veil does not hinder our level of education or progression. We must look beyond what covers the head.
Growing up as a young girl in one of the notorious communities I have ever known, I was not engulfed in the Islamic teachingbut the little I knew thought me the importance of veiling. That piece of cloth is just a way of expressing our belief and the love for our religion.
The challenges we face as Muslim women when it comes to our career choice is enormous. The most salient of it is that piece of cloth on our head as mentioned earlier. More so is the pressures from family members to get married. And wanting to build a strong career alongside these two tails and many other is so disheartening.
One needs the spirit of perseverance and a supportive family to overcome these cankers. You need to prove yourself fit and ready for that position that society feels does not befit you.
We as women need to prove to whoever in charge that we can equally do same if not better what those without the veil are doing. This is not a competition. We just need an equal opportunity to prove ourselves and to let the world know what we are capable of. People must learn to look beyond what covers the head.
Nonetheless,I am not oblivious of the fact that Muslim women do not fit into the criteria of most of professional jobs out there. That piece of cloth on our head and a descent dress which defines us is our limitation. That still will not overshadow our willingness and the determination to make a change.
In most case, we are usually left with little or no choice. We either take the veil off or forget about the job we have been praying and working hard for. Then again, in recent times, there have been a few companies who actually allow the use of the veil but even that comes with some conditions which we have to consider.Notwithstanding the fact that there are exceptions to this claim. A few do get it the easy way.
Our challenges as Muslim women who are only demanding for an equal right and respect from non-believers goes beyond discrimination and prejudice. This hurdle continues to grow even in this system of democracy. As a result of prejudice and discrimination against wearing of the veil.Still clinging to the hope that one day people will become more accepting and respectfully of those who are just peacefully expressing their beliefs.