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What is World Hijab Day (WHD)?

The word “Hijab” is used to describe the head coverings worn by Muslim women. Many Muslim women wear the hijab for a variety of different reasons: to show piety, to please God, to show their Muslim identity, to practice modesty, etc.

Many Muslim women who wear the hijab experience discrimination in the workplace due to islamophobia and negative misconceptions about the hijab. For example, Muslim women may experience harassment, be denied job opportunities or dismissed from organisations for practicing their faith due to biased or discriminatory policies.

To combat this bias World Hijab Day invites women of all backgrounds to wear the hijab to encourage religious tolerance, cultural understanding and international solidarity with Muslim women.

When is World Hijab Day

World Hijab Day takes place on 1 February every year.

Why is there a World Hijab Day?

World Hijab Day founder Nazma Khan moved from Bangladesh to New York at the age of eleven and was the only hijabi in her school. She had experienced a lot of verbal and physical harassment due to how students and teachers reacted to her hijab at school and in higher education. This almost drove her to dropping out, but instead she graduated top of her class.

Determined to end discrimination against Muslim women and help other people who had similar experiences to her, she decided to invite women of all backgrounds to experience the hijab for themselves and “walk in her shoes.” She started a website called “World Hijab Day” on January 1 2013 and has continued to expand this event since then.

From our expert:

“Hijab is a unique and at times contentious talking point. The lack of thoughtful discourse means that most people end up talking about it, rather than talking to those who choose to observe it. This means the understanding of hijab can be largely reductive, based on world affairs, wars, and general Islamophobia and xenophobia. Creating the space to understand the experiences and motivators for hijab observing women becomes all the more important.

For most Muslim women who choose to wear hijab, it is our own deeply personal connection with our faith. In ironic contrast to when its application is misused, when we have autonomy over our bodies, this choice brings its own liberation. Discrimination often comes when people treat groups as a monolith or a stereotype; to counter this it’s important to remember that hijab is a profound expression of identity, and this will be unique to every woman.”

Senior Inclusion and Diversity Consultant

World Hijab Day facts you should know

Here are a few quick World Hijab Day facts to know:

  • World Hijab Day is estimated to be celebrated by 150+ countries
  • Politicians and political organisations such as Nicola Sturgeon, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the Scottish Parliament, the House of Commons in the UK and the House of Representatives of the Philippines have all participated in World Hijab Day
  • You can share articles, videos and photos with World Hijab Day to document your experiences of the event
  • World Hijab Day founder, Nazma Khan, also founded International Muslim History Month to celebrate the contributions of Muslims to the world throughout history.

How to celebrate World Hijab Day in the workplace

There are numerous ways to commemorate World Hijab Day at work, including:

If you’re a member and need more support with celebrating World Hijab Day, contact your account manager. If you’re not yet a member, get in touch today to see how we can help.

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