Study finds that French Muslims face job discrimination

French Muslims of African descent are discriminated against in the job market when their job opportunities are compared with those of French Christians of African descent, according to a study by Stanford Political Science Professor David Laitin.

According to the researchers, the Christian is generally two-and-a-half times more likely to be offered an interview spot for a job than a Muslim of the same ethnic background and equal qualifications.

The study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was co-authored by Claire Adida of UC-San Diego and Marie-Anne Valfort of Sorbonne University in France.

Laitin’s team set up three fake resumes for applicants of French nationality to determine if there was any discrimination in the hiring process. “Marie Diouf” was a French-Senegalese woman whose name and extracurricular activities indicate Christian affiliation. “Khadija Diouf” was a French-Senegalese woman whose name and extracurricular activities indicate Muslim affiliation.

A third candidate, “Aurélie Ménard,” was created as a typical French person born into a traditional French family. The inclusion of the third resume was intended to prevent employers who took the survey from noticing the survey’s intention. The researchers used Marie and Aurélie to compete for one subset of jobs and Khadija and Aurélie to compete for another.

Khadija received an 8 percent positive response rate, while Marie received a 21 percent positive response rate.

The researchers also found that there was no statistical difference in positive responses between employers who received text-only resumes and those who received resumes along with the same photograph of both Dioufs, indicating that neither is North African. The photo also did not contain any religious symbols, which researchers said would indicate that Khadija was not an orthodox Muslim.

About Alice Phillips

Alice Phillips '15 is Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. Previously, she worked as the paper's Deputy Editor, Chief Copy Editor, a News Desk Editor and a News Staff Writer. Alice is a biology major from Los Angeles, California.
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