Exploring the everyday lived experiences of young Muslim women about the hijab: reflections from the inside

  • Golding, B. (Speaker)
  • Leonie Jackson (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Nafhesa Ali (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The Islamic headscarf has received a large amount of attention in the United Kingdom (UK), Europe and the broader Anglosphere in recent years, resulting in an increase in research that consults Muslim women about their views. While Islamic veiling practices have long been problematised as potential indicators of radicalisation and positioned as challenging to multicultural British identity, contentious debates in the UK have focused on face and body coverings (the niqab and burka), while scarves that cover only the hair and neck (hijab), have been largely absorbed as acceptable practice. The announcement in November 2017 that Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) school inspectors would question young girls about why they wore the headscarf was therefore somewhat surprising, particularly as it was apparently based on an interpretation of the garment’s potential sexualisation of children. This paper reports on an exploratory study in to the multiple meanings of the headscarf for young women. Using The Listening Guide, a narrative feminist approach to data analysis, we aim to illustrate how diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias are central to young women’s reflections upon the role of the hijab in their lives. Specifically, we will reflect upon wider social, political and societal contexts and the factors that influenced their decision to wear or not to wear a headscarf. Consideration will be given to their thoughts and feelings about the Ofsted ruling, societal perceptions of the headscarf and these young women’s positions in wider society.
Period23 Aug 2019
Event title14th European Sociological Association: Europe and Beyond: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging
Event typeConference
Conference number14
LocationManchester, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational