RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AMONG WORKING WOMEN IN MALAYSIA

Authors

  • Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar Associate Professor
  • Azizi Ayob
  • Noor Fadzilah Zulkifli
  • Asral Widad Ahmad Asnawi
  • Amira Ismail
  • Nur Hazlin Hazrin Chong
  • Mohd Eqwan Mohd Roslan
  • Siti Farhana Fathy
  • Muhammad Farid Sulaiman
  • Hanan Othman
  • Azizah Che Awang
  • Siti Aishyah Sulaiman
  • Maliya Suofieya
  • Norzila Baharin

Abstract

Religious discrimination refers to beliefs, attitudes, and acts that denigrate or deny
equal treatment to individuals or groups based on one’s religious identity. There
have been reports on increasing religious discrimination occurring in the
workplace. Among others were the banning of the hijab, a head scarf for Muslim
women, and the prohibition of performing prayer. This situation is despite Malaysia
being a majority Muslim country. A study was conducted to measure the prevalence
of religious discrimination, the profiling of employers, and workplace condition.
Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire involving 402 working
females aged 18 to 59 from peninsular Malaysia. Results showed that as many as
12.5% of respondents reported difficulty finding time to pray at work. Hijab
prohibition in the workplace occurred among 5.7% of Muslim women. Within this
percentage, 60.9% were from the private sector, 36.4% were in the education field,
and 27.3% were in hotel management and hospitality. In addition, 14.5% of
respondents believed they were denied a promotion at the workplace due to
religious identity. Finally, as many as 7.5% of respondents reported that their
religious identity had negatively influenced their relationship with their employer.
Interestingly, proper facilities were not provided at the workplaces for performing
religious duties in 32.9% of respondents who shared the same religion with their
employers as opposed to only 30.9% of respondents whose employers have
different faith facing the problem. There is a pressing need for legal recourse in
addressing religious discrimination against women in Malaysia. Islam is the
religion of the Federation. Therefore, workplaces must accommodate the
employees’ needs to fulfil their pastoral responsibilities.

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Published

2022-11-13