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The Story behind the Hijab with PULSAR® & Aminah Shafiq!

Here at PULSAR®, we have recently introduced our first ever workwear Hijab - BZ1524. The story of the Hijab began working alongside Aminah, Liscombe, Severn Trent and our manufacturing partners. We had the pleasure of being able to catch up with Aminah and here is what she had to say about herself, where she works and where it all started.

Introduction to Aminah

My name is Aminah Shafiq, I am 24 years old and I work for Severn Trent Water as a Senior Advisor. As a Senior Advisor, I help to ensure wholesome water is provided to over 8 million of our customers in the midlands region of the UK. Part of my role is to reactively risk assess water quality failures from the water source, across the treatment process in the distribution network and all the way to the customers taps.

When was it you realised there was a need for a head scarf & what inspired you?

As part of my role, we visit treatment sites regularly for various reasons, but mainly to better understand how our treatment processes affect water quality. We are provided with various PPE to wear on these operational visits but my headscarf was always an issue when dressing in my PPE before a site visit. I'd either have to tuck it in my hi-vis jacket (to stop loose matieral getting caught in something) or tighten the helmet straps so it wouldn't wobble.

I found that there was nothing tailored to headwear in the PPE catalogue, so I began thinking about how introducting something of the sort would not just help me, but help others in the industry.

I had a lot of support from my colleagues when pitching my idea to them and with the strong health and safety culture we have here at Severn Trent, I was encouraged to push my idea forward!

I took my design forward to the relevant team and a prototype was created by PULSAR® that was sent over to me. The feedback on the prototype was really positive and as a result, it has been rolled out to the company and is now part of our PPE catalogue!

What has been the response to the Hijab coming into the market?

The response was really positive! The workwear Hijab has had a really great response on social media, particularly LinkedIn. All sorts of industries have started to reconsider how inclusive they are.

An article on the head scarf was also releases to the press, whic resulted in TV, radio and newspaper articles being published. This again has really helped raise awareness and hopefully will help to inspire more Muslim women to pursue opertional roles.

Do you think as an industry we are moving in the right direction in promoting a diverse working culture?

I think we are definitely making the necessary changes to create a diverse working culture because it's on companies radar a lot more and diversity has become regularly reviewed as part of employment statistics.

However, there is still so much more that can be done!

I'm often asked the question - "How was the workwear Hijab not thought of before?", it's such a simple design but comes with such an important message. There are simply not enough people, such as myself who are in operational roles, therefore there are not a lot of people to identify those gaps we have in diversity.

It should be a running movement to encourage people from ethnic minority backgrounds, so that those who aren't as confident feel like they are being heard.

Do you feel this is helping create opportunities for more Ethnic Stem workers to work within the industry, knowing how developing the sector is?

Yes, definitely. As the sector becomes more inclusive, it means people feel more welcome and accepted. It is also really important that people from all backgrounds feel they can progress in their career and it is inspiring to see other individuals like themselves who are successful.

It helps people widen the range of careers they would consider.

What do you hope for the future in aspiring other women in getting into engineering?

I hope that equality, diversity and inclusivity becomes a permanent part of the industry. Industries shouldn't be stereotyped, for example 'male dominated'. This can be off putting for individuals who don't fit that look or narrative.

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