Human capital, family structure and religiosity shaping British Muslim women’s labour market participation

Nabil Khattab*, Ron Johnston, David Manley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
270 Downloads (Pure)


Economic activity among Muslim women in the UK remains considerably lower and their unemployment rate significantly higher than among the majority group even after controlling for qualifications and other individual characteristics. This study utilises two data sets to explore possible factors underlying these differences, such as overseas qualifications, language skills and religiosity. It reveals that while religiosity is negatively associated with labour market participation among British Christian-White women, economic activity among Muslim women are not negatively affected by high religiosity. Furthermore, family structure and the presence of dependent children were among the most important factors explaining the latter’s labour market participation, although these relationships were moderated by qualifications. More women with higher qualifications were economically active even if married and with children, although some of them experienced greater unemployment, probably due to discrimination in recruiting practices and choices and preferences on religious grounds.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Early online date3 Jun 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2017

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • economic activity
  • Muslim women
  • religiosity
  • religious penalty
  • UK labour market
  • unemployment

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