World Hijab Day

By Sharon Schweitzer

Every year on February 1st, World Hijab Day recognizes the millions of Muslim women who choose to wear a hijab. It’s also a day to encourage women of all backgrounds and religions to wear and experience the hijab.

A hijab is a type of headscarf that also covers the neck. Even though it looks like a headscarf, the word “hijab” actually means “curtain” or partition.” Hijabs come in a variety of styles and colors, which makes them fun to wear. Women normally only need to wear a hijab when they are in the presence of men that aren’t a part of their immediate family. Some Muslim women choose to wear a hijab because they believe it promotes cultural solidarity. Others wear it because they believe their faith requires them to do so.

Since not all Muslim women wear a hijab, and the style and custom in which hijabs are worn varies significantly, becoming hijabi is often a journey. While some women commit to wearing a hijab as a young girl, others wait until later in life, or go back and forth between wearing it and not. It is a very personal decision related to not only cultural norms, but also her individual relationship with religion.

Nazma Khan launched the first World Hijab Day on February 1st, 2013. Nazma is a Muslim woman who lives in New York. She wanted to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting all women to experience the hijab for just one day. Growing up in NYC, Nazma had experienced much discrimination when she wore her hijab to school (especially after 9/11). By creating this day, she hoped to end this type of discrimination. Currently, people in 190 countries throughout the world take part in World Hijab Day.

Hijabi women are some of the most established, successful women in society and it is unfortunately not understood to its full context by many. There are many forms of hijab as well and no form is superior to the other.

World Hijab Day allows us to raise awareness of the issues Muslim women face every day across the globe. It is a day where we can challenge the misconceptions, demystify the myths and stand in solidarity with Muslim women in our communities.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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