Sunday, August 28, 2005

reBlog: Abayas at work

Arab Pearl has an interesting write-up on how wearing black abayas at work has become some sort of defacto uniform for women in Oman.

She writes that:
it has become such an issue for a woman to go to work wearing professional attires and co-workers have reached the point of judging this individual and mistreating her because of her choice to wear what she chooses. My point here is why should this become such an issue especially in countries where the abaya is not enforced upon women? Why do educated people take such offence when a woman decides to dress up in a suit to work, especially when it is respectable attire? Why is it all of a sudden an issue if a woman decides to wear the headscarf at work as her choice to show respect to those who are conservative, yet when she removes it out side of work, they judge her and look down on her? Is it fair to judge a person because of the choices she makes and especially if this individual is one who is respectable, eventhough, wearing the Abaya or the Hijab was never compulsory for her?!

Does wearing an abaya affect a woman's chance of being hired? She writes about a European manager who
found it difficult to hire girls who were very attached to their abayas and who did not wish to compromise in their dress style for the sake of their jobs, even though the job description included field and business trips. Another thing was that he noticed that some girls who came for interviews wearing their abaya sometimes gave the impression of being introverted individuals who could not take responsibility and challenges. That sometimes the abaya came in the way of showing the person's true personality and covered it with a picture of a girl who is shy, unconfident and who would like to work in one place for the sake of money and not want to grow or build herself. He even noticed the way some girls with the abaya presented themselves in front of their colleagues, or walked or sat.

What do you think? You can reply with your views here on my blog or you can go to her blog and follow the discussion there. [link]


Najah said...

i worked for sometimes here in Oman and i never did wear an abbaya and because i can barely hear or see what people think of me, nothing really changed me to the abbaya thought...

better off having uniforms, cause there are girls who can't work freely with it, and with their stylish falling (every once in a while) hijab.

UsleeFuslee said...

I wouldn't ever go out without my abaya - 'specially to the office! I'm a western Muslim in Oman and I can say that the abaya in fact allows me to feel more confident and able to focus on my work rather than worrying about the males staring. Am I introverted? Absolutely not. Am I overly shy? In no way! I feel more poised, I get more respect and at the same time I'm not harrassed by men looking at me as if I were naked. In fact, the only harrassment I get would be in the form of looks I receive from fellow westerners who aren't Muslim!

Arab Pearl said...

First of all, i know its a lil too late for me to comment on this, but i'd like to thank you for rebloging my entry on your blog, i was quite surprised at it today, coz i had no idea, i guess this serves to prove that rss feeds come in handy!

I'm not a regular visitor to your blog, nothing personal, however, whenever i do come across it i can't help but admire you and your wife's characters and your nature in which words are not minced. I'm slowly becoming a regular to your blog and enjoy your topics very much, keep it up. Also looking forward to reading your comments on the Week!

One thing though, by seeing this entry, it has made me realised how far my entries have reached, however, i didn't get your comment on that particular topic. Your comments will be appreciated especially when you find the topics interesting.

Anonymous said...

Salaam sisters: I am a Western woman working in the West (Canada in fact) and I wear my abaya and hiijab to work. I bought my first abaya in Oman febuary 2006. I conveted to Islam shortly after, upon returning home. I find it respectful (in my job my clothes shouldn't be too revealing: my employer deals with girl who have skirts too short, and tops too low cut.) Many of my clients comment that my scarves and abaya are elegent. It is more difficult to find employment ( some places are downright discriminatory) but if I was brave enough to tell my catholic mother I am Muslim and face my Saudi mother-in-law that didn't want a "Western" woman LOL I think I can take it. Certain jobs abyas work for (not active ones with lots of physical activity) but an office enviroment? Tres belle. p.s I think you omani girls from Muscat and Salalah are very elegent (you destroyed my prejudice about women being suppressed when I saw you laughing and shopping and loving your abayas).

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