Muslim women face German job barriers - discrimination study

Muslim women in Berlin, Oct 08 pic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Muslim women in Berlin: Germany has few restrictions on headscarves, unlike France

An experiment in Germany has found evidence of job discrimination against women with Turkish names - and even more if they wear an Islamic headscarf.

A university researcher sent 1,500 identical CVs to German firms - except that some bore the name Meryem Ozturk and others the name Sandra Bauer.

In 18.8% of cases Sandra Bauer was invited for interview, whereas the figure for Meryem was just 13.5%.

When the photo of Meryem showed her in a headscarf only 4.2% invited her.

The study was published by the Institute for the Study of Labour, in Bonn. The researcher was Doris Weichselbaumer from the University of Linz, in Austria.

The findings are especially significant in light of Germany's current efforts to integrate record numbers of Muslim migrants, many of them refugees from the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than a million asylum seekers reached Germany last year, and there has been a backlash from nationalist groups, especially Pegida and Alternative for Germany (AfD).

With an estimated three million people of Turkish origin, Germany is home to the largest Turkish diaspora.

'Modern-looking' headscarf

In her study, Ms Weichselbaumer said that "a very modern binding of the headscarf was chosen to signal that the applicant was a young, modern woman who could easily fit into a secular environment".

It is normal in Germany to attach a photo to a job application, she pointed out.

The result of the experiment "implies that the candidate with the headscarf had to send 4.5 times as many applications as an identical applicant with a German name and no headscarf to receive the same number of callbacks for interview", she said.

Discrimination appeared to intensify when the job required a higher skill level. When Ms Ozturk in a headscarf was applying for a secretarial job she had to send off 3.5 times more applications than Ms Bauer. For the post of chief accountant Ms Ozturk had to make 7.6 times more applications.

Ms Weichselbaumer has found similar levels of discrimination in Austria. A female Nigerian job applicant was only half as successful as an Austrian woman in getting invitations to interview, her research showed in 2013.

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Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some Muslim women wear the burka (bottom right), the niqab (top right), the chador (bottom left) or the hijab (top left)

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