The Hijab in Theatre - Diversity and Inclusion on the Stage
In order to understand how the hijab can impact the lives of Muslims, I conducted a survey with more than 100 Muslim theatre professionals. As a result, this article contains information about what the results of the study found, as well as recommendations for future research.
For many Muslim women in the UK, the decision to wear a hijab in theatre is a hard one. It is a matter of personal faith and religious obligations. However, many have found that the dress code in the operating theatre can be problematic. Some feared they would be bullied while others felt they did not have enough cover.
This study surveyed the views of female Muslim NHS workers to find out more. One of the most interesting aspects of this study was the way in which these healthcare workers reported having to make their own provisions for head covering. They wore a variety of different types of headscarves ranging from the hijab to the turban. Although this study was limited in scope to one trust, the findings could be applied to other hospitals.
The main aim of this research was to understand the experiences of female Muslim medical healthcare professionals when it comes to wearing a hijab in theatre. A quantitative correlation research survey was used to gather data on the sample. After a literature review, a questionnaire was compiled. These were distributed to the participants at a conference.
The questionnaire was piloted on five female medical professionals. The question was a 28-item quantitative self-completion questionnaire. A face validity assessment was performed on the questionnaire. Finally, it was restructured to improve readability.
Most respondents agreed that wearing a hijab was important to them. Over half of them reported that they had experienced issues when wearing the headscarf in a theatre. Of these, a large percentage of respondents reported feeling embarrassed, nervous, and uncomfortable while wearing the head covering.
A significant number of respondents also said that their experience working in an operating theatre affected their career choice. Overall, the proportion of women reporting such experiences was similar before and after the publication of uniform and workwear guidance in the NHS.
While the majority of respondents reported that their trust had not fulfilled their requirements regarding wearing a hijab in an operating theatre, over half were confident that the same type of headscarf worn outside of the theatre met religious requirements.
Findings from the survey
The findings from the Hijab in Theatre survey provide an insight into how a significant number of Muslim women are affected by a bare below elbows (BBE) policy. In addition to investigating the number of female healthcare workers in the National Health Service who wear the hijab in theatre, the study also aims to gauge the prevalence of issues and challenges facing these workers.
Most respondents agreed that wearing a headscarf was important for their religious beliefs. However, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed were not satisfied with the BBE policy. They felt their religious requirement for covering the arms was not respected, and that the way they were dressed in the theatre did not meet their religious needs.
While most respondents agreed that they felt comfortable wearing the headscarf in the operating theatre, a significant number reported feelings of anxiety and stress. Some felt bullied and embarrassed. Other respondents chose not to attend the theatre at all.
A high percentage of respondents also reported wearing the same headscarf outside the operating theatre. This suggests that BBE policies in the operating theatre do not allow for a satisfactory solution. Therefore, the study recommends that organisations consider alternative head covering solutions.
One possible solution is to provide free training opportunities for health professionals. However, this may be difficult for some organisations to facilitate. Instead, they might enquire about a disposable headscarf. It is therefore vital to ensure that the solution is both comfortable and appropriate for the individual.
Furthermore, a substantial number of respondents reported that their experiences in the theatre had an impact on their career choice. Although most felt that they were able to work in a theatre without compromising their religious beliefs, there were some who opted to leave their post.
Finally, a cross-sectional design was used in order to gather data on a wide range of individuals. This allowed the study team to determine the overall reliability of the questionnaire. As well as the face validity of the questionnaire, the questionnaire's structure was revised to improve readability.
In the end, the study found that the level of headscarf discrimination was high. This was expected given the current climate.
For a demographic that has long been under siege, coping with life as a Muslim woman in Hungary is not a walk in the park. Thankfully, the country's Muslim community has managed to pull its act together, organising the world hijab day and taking to the skies in the form of the requisite attire. In addition to the expected verbal attacks and the odd physical assault, the Hungarian Muslims are also the victims of a plethora of hate crimes. While this may seem like a positive development, the experience has left many female members of the community feeling as if they've been stabbed in the back.
The authors drooled over a trove of participant-observation data, ranging from the aforementioned World Hijab Day to the nitty gritty of daily interactions. While the results were a bit too varied to allow statistical analysis, the resulting set is nonetheless a fascinating and well-rounded swathe of humanity. It is this cohort that we investigate to determine whether or not the hijab can withstand the rigors of life in Budapest. Ultimately, our findings will be put to use in improving the lives of the women who wear the hijab, in the hope that the best practices and lessons learned from this study can be replicated elsewhere. Our data set is complemented by a large number of qualitative interviews. This study is an important step toward achieving our research goals and we are proud of it.
Aside from examining the hijab in context, this study also investigated whether or not a variety of coping strategies are worth incorporating into everyday life. From this research, it was uncovered that while the hijab was the most obvious coping strategy, other options, such as relocating to a more stable and supportive neighborhood, implementing a child-care plan, and finding a new job are all necessary to achieve a more wholesome and stress-free lifestyle.
Recommendations for future research
Many Muslim women in the NHS face challenges when wearing a headscarf in theatre. Some experience a lack of flexibility in the trust's dress code policy, while others experience bullying or a feeling of embarrassment. These feelings may have an effect on a woman's career choice and religious beliefs.
This study aimed to investigate the experiences of Muslim healthcare workers who wear a hijab in the theatre. A quantitative correlation research survey was used to gather data on a sample of female healthcare professionals. The questionnaire was piloted to assess its readability, and then reviewed by the conference organising committee. After the review, the questionnaire was modified to improve its readability.
Among the respondents, over half experienced problems when wearing a headscarf in the theatre. One-fifth felt embarrassed and one-quarter experienced anxiety. Despite the difficulties, most of the respondents agreed that wearing a hijab is important for their religious beliefs. However, over a third of the respondents reported that they felt bullied or uncomfortable when wearing a headscarf in the operating theatre.
Over one-quarter of the respondents would consider an alternative to wearing a headscarf in the operating theater. This type of disposable head covering should be comfortable, opaque, and long enough to cover the neck and chest area. In addition, it should also be able to accommodate long hair.
It is important that the NHS make its position clear about the dress code policy. In addition, it is essential that Muslim women's personal beliefs are respected. They must be empowered to negotiate solutions. Also, the NHS must provide them with suitable equipment.
Another recommendation is to provide Muslim women with the opportunity to work openly with trusts. As part of this, the trust should allow Muslim female healthcare professionals to wear their own headscarves. Ideally, this would reduce the likelihood of feeling uncomfortable or unable to follow the trust's policy. Moreover, the NHS should develop a uniform policy that is flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual trust's workforce. While many of the recommendations arose from the study, they may also apply to other examples.