Report: Headscarves a barrier on German job market

German women who wear a headscarf and have a Turkish name must write four times more cover letters than other job seekers to be offered an interview, according to a study released Tuesday.

Researchers from the IZA-Institute for the Study of Labor sent nearly 1,500 fictitious applications for secretary jobs in Germany: some using a typical German name, others with a Turkish name and a last group with a Turkish name that included a picture of the female applicant wearing a headscarf.

 The applicant without the headscarf was invited for a job interview in 18.8 percent of cases, compared to 13.5 percent for the woman with the Turkish name and 4.2 percent for the applicant with the Turkish name and headscarf.

All the fictitious applications described a candidate with a good knowledge of the German language and a German education, leading the reports’ authors to suggest discrimination may make it more difficult for migrant women to find work, rather than lower qualifications — often blamed for the group’s higher unemployment rate.

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