Last month, I was able to break through a glass ceiling that I felt had cast a shadow over me for so long – when I, a woman wearing a hijab, did my first TV report for STV news in Scotland. It was a massive step for me, yet there is so much more that needs to be done for better representation in the UK media.
Currently in Scotland, there is a real lack of representation from black and Asian ethnic minority media professionals on screen. In fact, my TV report was deemed to have been the first time a hijab-wearing TV reporter anchored a news report in Scotland. I faced many challenges and barriers over the years trying to transition into broadcast journalism.
I was once asked by someone in the industry whether I would consider removing my hijab if I wanted to progress in my career and that I had all the “skills and potential” but didn’t really have the right “look” for TV. I refused to compromise my identity as Muslim woman just to get ahead. I would have rather given up my ambition than give up on my beliefs, but felt that no one should have to be in a situation where they are discriminated against or not given a chance to progress purely based on the way they look.