Sorry, Louise Casey, but Muslim women are held back by discrimination

If like me you’re female, Muslim and from an ethnic minority background, it sometimes feels like a one-way ticket into economic and social purgatory.

Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country. Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.

However, according to the findings of Louise Casey’s review of integration and opportunity released yesterday, it’s not discrimination that is holding us back. British Muslim women have apparently failed to grasp that integration is the missing “key to success”.

…. Graduating from university last year, I thought, naively perhaps, that my degree would ease my passage into the labour market. But instead of a gold-paved road to my first job, I found myself hurtling down the rabbit hole of unemployment.

…. If the government really wants to help British Muslim women, it needs to take discrimination seriously: create job opportunities across the country; invest in stagnating cities such as Bradford with so many talented women resigned to mediocre jobs for which they are overqualified, or no jobs at all. Create platforms from which Muslim women can ascend the ladder of social mobility.

Once that’s done, then we can talk about integration – but I bet we won’t need to. [1590 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1020 votes] Since when has a degree been a passport to a dream job?

[2ND 775] “I thought my degree would be a passport to a dream job, but in Bradford the ladder of social mobility was always out of reach.”

You seem to have landed an enviable gig with the bourgeois press.

[3RD 691] I don’t understand the point of your argument here – you’re saying, yes there’s aspects of Islam that are problematic but also, there’s other things to worry about, like the economy.

Yes there is, but Casey’s report was about how Islam hinders integration. That’s the topic at hand – why deflect?

[4TH 674] “This is particularly true for visibly Muslim women like me who wear the hijab”

And there it is. Perhaps employers don’t want to hire people who let their religion dominate their lives so much and that’s not just about Muslims, as I suspect that many visibly devoutly religious people would have the same issues.

[5TH 592] A bit of a disconnect here – “I am being discriminated against because of my religion” / “I make sure that everybody knows about my religion”.

Might there just be a way out?

[6TH 574] Just because you and a couple of your friends haven’t got your dream job after graduating doesn’t mean you are being discriminated against.

[7TH 542] “Graduating from university last year, I thought, naively perhaps, that my degree would ease my passage into the labour market. But instead of a gold-paved road to my first job, I found myself hurtling down the rabbit hole of unemployment.”

Welcome to 21st Century Britain.

[8TH 446] I was a bit worried by the Casey report yesterday but I’m glad to see today everything is non-Muslims fault again.

[9TH 408] I have some sympathy but what you’re facing doesn’t sound like Islamophobia so much as a really shit job market.

[10TH 395] Help yourself.

Don’t wear the hijab. It’s an ideological symbol. Plenty of Muslim women don’t. It was a rare sight in the 70s and 80s.

Don’t marry a first cousin. If you do your kids’ IQ will, on average, be about 1 standard deviation lower than if you marry a non-relation. That hammers their life chances in an industrial society.

Don’t marry someone from rural Pakistan. It delays integration for another generation. It imports poverty. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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