Ipsos conducted this study on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The study investigates the views and attitudes of Muslim women, in particular, attitudes towards work, barriers to progression, religious practice at work and future aspirations.
Many working Muslim women display a high level of ambition, with two-thirds (66%) agreeing that they would like to be promoted to a more senior role in the next few years. In contrast, just one in five (19%) say they are not looking to be promoted within this time frame.
A third of employed Muslim women (33%) can one day imagine themselves being the Chief Executive or the leader of the organisation that they work for. Related to this, over two-thirds of Muslim women (68%) believe that it is now possible for Muslim women to reach senior positions in the workplace - with no difference between working and non-working women.
The majority of working Muslim women feel comfortable practicing their religion at work with three-quarters (75%) feeling comfortable when taking time out to pray and when wearing a headscarf at work.
In terms of barriers that prevent Muslim women from progressing in the workplace, around one in five Muslim women believe that childcare, family responsibilities and pressure from the family or community are key factors (21% and 20% respectively). However, Muslim women who are currently working are more likely to cite factors relating to gender / religious discrimination and employer policies than their non-working counterparts. For example, whilst only 11% of non-working women believe that employers are anti-Muslim this figure is significantly higher for working women (22%).
Seven in ten Muslim women (71%) believe that Britain will have a Muslim woman MP in the next ten years. By sub-group, working women and those aged 45 years and over are more likely to believe that this is a realistic possibility (77% and 83% respectively).
When asked if they believe that a British female Muslim would one day become Prime Minister, around a quarter of Muslim women (28%) agreed that this was a likely prospect.
Findings are based on a total of 414 interviews, comprising 135 working and 279 non-working Muslim women.
The survey sample was generated using Random Digit Dialling (RDD) and all interviews were conducted by telephone using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Interviews were conducted by Ipsos between 26 February and 9 March 2009.
Data are weighted to age and work status of Muslim women based on data from the Labour Force Survey.
Rebeccah Szyndler, Research Manager [email protected]
Kully Kaur-Ballagan Research Director [email protected]