In India Muslim Women Face Discrimination during Hiring Process, Study Reveals

The study, carried out by LedBy Foundation, was published last week. “Most diversity and inclusion initiatives focus on increasing women’s participation with limited attention to [the] intersectionality of religious and ethnic minorities,” the researchers concluded.

The study highlights that significant hiring bias exists against Muslim women even in instances where they are equally qualified for the job, which further discriminates against Muslim women, socially and financially in society.

LedBy Foundation – an Indian leadership incubator that focuses on the professional development of Muslim women in association with the Maulana Azad National Urdu University’s Centre for Development of Policy & Practice, conducted a thorough interrogation to determine the hiring bias between Hindu and Muslim women in the workplace.

The study was conducted for over eight months, 2000 job applications were sent to 1000 job postings on job search sites like LinkedIn and with two symmetric dummy profiles. One was Hindu (Priyanka Sharma) and the other Muslim (Habiba Ali).

The research shows that for every call back that Habiba received, Priyanka received two.

The research was conducted with an aim to detect biases against Muslim women and qualitatively understand how this bias manifests.

Roles applied for jobs like content writer, business development analyst, and social media marketing specialist across industries during the entire research.

The primary analytical goal of the research was to ascertain a net discrimination percentage, the two most important data points were the number of positive responses to both candidates.

The aspects that lead to the conclusion of the study include all responses of passage to the next round of recruitment as positive and instances where companies found ‘Priyanka’ or ‘Habiba’ on LinkedIn and reached out as a positive response.

This study concludes that a significant hiring bias exists against Muslim women even in instances where they are equally qualified for the job

This research proves that a contributing factor to such a stark disparity in labour market participation is discrimination against Muslim women within the hiring process.

Suggestions of the study:

The above study also laid down some potential solutions and recommendations to combat such discrimination against Muslim women.

It suggests that the disparity between Hindu and Muslim job aspiring women can be bridged by providing equal and fair opportunities to every candidate irrespective of their religion.

It also recommends organizations adopt strategies such as a blind hiring process, where a signifier that highlights the religion of the aspirants will be kept anonymous for the recruiter, Introducing work sample tests allowing the recruiter to judge the candidates based on their skills and experiences.

It says that companies can invite external recruiters and a diverse panel of interviewers allowing a fair hiring process and having diverse candidates on board of the working companies.

The study also emphasized conducting more such research to explore how this disparity manifests in executive-level positions, across regions within the country, across industries, and across job search aggregators which can further help clarify this bias.

The research is conducted by Dr Ruha Shadab, LedBy’s founder and Harvard graduate along with Vanshika Sharan, the primary investigator.

The primary contributors to the research were Priyanka Sharma and Habiba Ali.

LedBy Foundation is a social enterprise initiated by Dr Ruha Shadab and incubated at Harvard that provides mentorship to young Muslim women, to inspire the next generation of female change-makers.

It also aims at the visibility of Indian Muslim women in practical leadership positions and boardrooms across the country and ensures their positions in the mainstream.

This article was published in The Cognate

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