On February 1, women across the world, including on college campuses, participated in “Hijab Day” in which women of different cultures were invited to wear a traditional hijab for a day in an attempt to understand the struggle that Muslim women go through every day being judged for this choice to follow their religion. The hijab comes under attack for being “oppressive” towards women and the day served as a symbol that in actuality it serves an important role in the lives of Muslim women and can be a way for women of all cultures to come together.
At the beginning of the video on Buzzfeed (link below), UCLA student, Rahma, who organized the movement on her campus, notes that while on the outside the hijabs might look like they are suffocating the individuality of the women, that in fact Muslim women are all different and unique regardless of wearing the same head scarf.
The movement was started in 2013 by Nazma Khan from the Bronx in New York City. Khan said that growing up in the city she faced intense discrimination and teasing from her peers about her hijab. She thought of the idea for World Hijab Day because she believed by inviting other women to step into her shoes, there would be more room for religious tolerance and less segregation.
Last year, over 70 World Hijab Day Ambassadors in over 45 countries with the help of thousands of volunteers helped to spread the word and celebration of the day to 150 different countries. This year the message was spread even further and at such an important time in United States history with the election causing tensions among different cultures and religions.
World Hijab Day gives women the opportunity to understand and support each other not just through conversation but through real experiences. Although non-Muslim women will never truly be able to understand the plights that Muslim women face every day, World Hijab Day and movements similar to it are helping further unite all the women in the world to hopefully strive toward understanding and equality.