Brunel University has become the first to launch its own sports hijab for female Muslim students.
The university noticed that there was a significant gap in the number of Muslim women taking part in sport – particularly those wearing hijabs.
A traditional hijab is made of cotton, which means it would get uncomfortably hot and sweaty during sport.
This puts a lot of Muslim women off taking part in sport altogether. A 2017 Sport England study found that only 18% of Muslim women regularly play sport, compared to 30% of the UK female population.
Brunel’s specially designed hijab aims to tackle this and make sport more inclusive for everyone. Their designs are made from materials that will keep the wearer cool, while also respecting their religious beliefs.
There are couple of sports hijabs on the market – Nike launched one in 2017 – but it’s great for Muslim athletes to feel part of the community with a ‘Team Brunel’ branded product.
And at just £15, Brunel’s hijab is much cheaper than the Nike alternative. To begin with, the hijab will only be available in ‘Brunel blue’ and in two sizes – but if it sells well creators are hopeful that they will be able to introduce a larger range of products.
When we narrowed it down, we found the main gap to be in BAME female sports participation – specifically, we found there to be a barrier to Muslim women taking part in team sport,’ says Ranjeet Rathore, president of the Union of Brunel Students.