Posted by: Lister | November 7, 2008

Ghada El Tawil

An Egyptian newsreader has won the right to be on TV while wearing a headscarf. She is quoted at the BBC:

I have waited six years for this moment – to present television wearing my hijab.

[…] when I put the hijab on in February 2002, I was banned from being on screen.

There have been many cases like this – female presenters losing their jobs when they want to wear the hijab on air. A colleague, Hala el-Malki and I were the first to take it to court.

When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news.

We got two rulings in our favour, the most recent in July 2005. It said we could wear what we liked on screen so long as it wasn’t ‘strange’. It’s taken until now for our employers [Alexandria’s Channel 5, a state channel] to apply it.

There are now five of us wearing the hijab on screen.

[…] I present a discussion programme focussing on social issues, it’s mainly aimed at women. On my return to the programme last week, so many people congratulated me in live phone calls on air!

However, my employers still haven’t let me return to my other job of reading the English-language news bulletins. I did this job for 12 years before I was stopped – but now they said I needed to pass another test. I refused to take it on principle.

When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news. I can’t see the point of the ban, can you? To let me do one of my previous jobs, but not the other.

I hope I will win this next case, too.

(Via PM)

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