Being a second generation Muslim woman in the French labour market: Understanding the dynamics of (visibility of) religion and gender in labour market access, outcomes and experiences

Jawiria Naseem, Wifag Adnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This mixed-method article focuses on Muslim women who are second generation – children of immigrants, born and bred in France – by bringing to the fore the intersection of (visibility of) religion and gender in the production of labour market access, outcomes and experiences. The quantitative analysis uses the Trajectories and Origins Survey 2009 and the European Social Survey (2006–2016) to explore how religious affiliation impacts labour market outcomes and how discriminatory practices are perceived. The qualitative analysis builds on semi-structured interviews which bring together, for the first time, women from a well-established minority ethnic group in France – Algerians – and women from a newly-settled group – Pakistanis. In doing so, the analysis offers a conceptual understanding of the ways in which gendered and religious displays shape labour market experiences. We find that ethnicity (based on parental country of birth) is by far the most commonly cited form of experienced and/or perceived discrimination in labour market access. In terms of outcomes, Muslim women are the least likely to gain employment, work the least number of hours and earn the lowest salaries; those who display their religion (through headscarf wearing practice for example) have an even reduced labour market participation rate. Drawing on the interviews analysis, we suggest that certain professional roles and sectors are believed to be accessible for those who are perceived to be French and white only. This racialised understanding of Frenchness produces inequality in the workplace and blocks professional progression for Muslim women, who are French by birth and educated in France. However, despite experiencing a similar racialisation process, the ways in which the women dealt with unequal treatment at work differed according to their ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
StatePublished - Jun 2019



  • Discrimination
  • Ethnicity
  • French labour market
  • Gender
  • Islam
  • Racialisation
  • Racism
  • Second generation women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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