Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education

Department

College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Schultheiss, Donna

Subject Headings

Counseling Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Womens Studies

Abstract

Muslim women's sense of self is at stake due to prevailing stigma and oppression toward Muslims. Employment and workplace have emerged as primary settings for encounters of negative bias, prejudice, and discrimination. Muslim immigrant women face multiple disadvantages on the basis of their various intersecting identities. The purpose of this study was to explore identity and career experiences of first generation immigrant Muslim women in American society, particularly in work and career settings. Informed by relational approaches to career development and social identity perspective, and grounded on the constructivist paradigm, a phenomenological qualitative analysis using consensual qualitative research (CQR) was conducted. Participants included 15 Muslim immigrant women with diverse ethnic backgrounds, residing in two Midwestern cities. Twelve domains emerged: Descriptive features of the self/identity, dynamic features of the self/identity, education and career experience, immigration and cross-cultural experience, stigma and oppression experience, emotional experience, family relational experience, social relational experience, home-country and home-culture experience, worldview, life challenges, and future orientation. Results suggest that Muslim immigrant women dynamically craft their selves and construct their experience in contexts defined by instability, pressure, and tension. Employment emerged as a primary context of difficult encounters, indicated by barriers of occupational mobility, social exclusion, unfair hiring outcomes, and discrimination on the basis of diverse identity markers. Contributions to the literature and implications for theory, research, and clinical work were discussed.

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