According to a new study on Muslim women who wear the hijab, published in the Oxford University Press’s European Social Review, found that wearing the head-covering leads to an increase in modernization — Muslim women feel more comfortable working outside the home, and more at ease interacting with non-Muslims colleagues, friends and strangers. The study found that attempts to force Muslim women to stop wearing the hijab, not only are counterproductive but may limit the opportunity for integration and career advancements (women may chose to stay home rather then go out in the job market).
Diego Gambetta is co-author of the report and adds, “Contrary to the populist cant that seems now dominant in Europe, veiling could be a sign of more rather than less integration. Highly religious women who have more native friends and live in areas dominated by natives use the veil to keep their pious reputation while being integrated. Banning or shunning veiling would deprive them of a means that allow them more opportunity for integration rather than marking their differences.”