Hijab and sexual harassment among urban Muslim women: Role of continuity and consistency of practice

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Waseem Fayyaz
Saima Ambreen


The wearers of hijab often regard their dress as a mark of identity and a source of modesty. The present paper targets to finding relationship between practicing hijab and sexual harassment experiences among urban Pakistani women. It also explores the moderating effect of continuity and consistency of this practice. Three hundred and sixty five women from seven urban areas filled in the modified versions of Sexual Harassment Experience Questionnaire (SHEQ) and Social Desirability Scale (SDS-17). The participants were five dress groups: niqab-wearing, head scarfing, head covering, dupatta-carrying, and the modern-dressed. The first two groups were collectively called the hijab-wearing. The last three were inducted for comparison purpose. Results indicated that the niqab-wearing women were most protected from sexual harassment. For the niqab-wearing women, the low-consistency group with high continuity of their dress practice showed a decline in harassment, while for the headscarf women the high-consistency group displayed similar pattern. The paper emphasizes that niqab (face veil) has a healthy bearing on the social life of its wearers. It has been proposed that covering the head with a dupatta or chador may be a suitable alternative for the headscarfing group.


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