Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 19–47 | Cite as

Religion and ethnicity at work: a study of British Muslim women’s labour market performance

  • Sami Miaari
  • Nabil Khattab
  • Ron Johnston


The literature on British Muslim women’s labour market experience suffers from four lacunae: the inadequate analysis of the multi-layered facets of their identities and the disadvantages they face; the narrow range of labour market outcomes studied (primarily labour market participation and unemployment); a lack of recent studies on the integration of Muslim women, educated in the UK and with English as their first language, into the labour market; and the absence of material on several sub-groups due to the lack of data, notably Arab, Christian Indian and White-British Muslim women. Using a large sample of data from the 2011 British census, the analyses presented here suggest that most non-White women face significant labour market penalties, with religion having a greater impact on labour market outcomes than race/ethnicity; Muslim women were the most disadvantaged, compared to other religious minorities, more so in relation to unemployment levels, part-time jobs and out of employment history, than in relation to occupational class and over-qualification. The results also suggest that the penalties facing Muslim women shaped by their ethnicity; not all Muslim women were similarly disadvantaged.


Muslim women UK labour market Ethnic penalty Religious penalty Employment prospects 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Doha Institute for Graduate StudiesDohaQatar
  3. 3.University of BristolBristolUK

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