Study: Harassment of Women in Religious Dress Worsens

Now occurs in a third of countries, up from 7 percent in 2007

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Harassment of women over their choice of religious garb has spread dramatically in recent years, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

In 2012, women were intimidated for wearing religious dress such as Muslim head scarves in 32 percent of countries in 2012, up from 25 percent in 2011 and less than one in ten countries (7 percent) in 2007.

Pew’s data shows that there tends to be more harassment of women over wearing religious dress in countries where government regulates the practice—more than a quarter of the countries on earth—though the report is careful to note that it can’t show a causal connection between regulation and harassment.

Bans on women wearing the veil have been a growing trend globally, and particularly in European countries, like France and Belgium, in recent years.