Factors Driving Female Bangladeshi University Students to Wear Hijab
Dr. Muhammad Ziaulhaq Mamun, Dr. Md. Ridwanul Huq

East West University, University of Dhaka
Email: mzmamun@ewubd.edu

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Purpose: Culture of hijab is a recent phenomenon in Bangladesh. Traditionally, the young female students in Bangladesh used to wear a combination of Salwar-kameez-orna. But the hijab culture is growing among the university students recently. This study tried to explore the causes of this change in society.Methodology: The empirical study made use of primary and secondary data and pertinent literature review. The primary data collected through a structured questionnaire that measured female university students’ perception regarding 34 specific reasons (simple attributes) grouped into seven categories (i) religious factors, ii) family value, iii) safety and security, iv) vogue and fashion, v) accessibility and convenience, vi) self-confidence and judgment, and vii) peer impact). By using convenient sampling technique, a total of 531 female university students from different demography are surveyed for the study. Findings: The most agreeable reasons for wearing hijab are noted to be gratitude to Allah, relegious enforcement, religious commitments, Muslim representation, comfort, and respect. The next level of agreeable variables are family virtue/piousness, proudness, good religious example for youngsters, depict modesty, revealation of woman’s look to inmates only, get induced/habituated, prove inner abilities not physical look, avoid non-halal things/offerings, and family encouragement. The least ageeable causes are found to be safety & security in roads and daily activities, family love/wish, security in public gatherings, less objectification, easy handling of appearance, family tradition/value, better look. On the other hand, the most disagreeable reason is help in dating. Other significant disagreeable reasons are trend imitation, liking of boyfriend/husband, previous bitter experience, new style and fashion, wish of in-laws, wish of husband, more presentable, hiding at ease when required. The study found that the female students are not much carried away by peer influence and fashion for wearing hijab. Overall, the survey assents that hijab is beneficial for female students. Practical Implications: The research gave insight about the marketability, popularity, and customer retention regarding use of hijab. The overall positive perception signifies an opportunity for the marketers of hijab business in Bangladesh. This study is a value-addition in this field. Value: The practice of hijab in Bangladesh is a recent phenomenon. Evidently, Bangladeshi Muslims share a religious commitment, as well as a Bengali cultural affiliation. Their cultural components always uplifted secularism and are deeply rooted to Bengali solidarity. Thus, Bengali Muslims are not hardcore Muslims displaying religious extremism in their dress code, fashion, manner, attitude, behavior, religious festivals, etc. Rather their affiliation to unified Bengali cultural identity often transcended religious identity. Their religious beliefs, vocabulary, values, customs, and rituals have remained very similar to elsewhere in the subcontinent rather than derived from comparatively more rigid Muslim countries. Limitations: The absence of a sample frame made it a little difficult to choose the respondents. Also, accessibility and convenience is a problem in the study.