“I never felt it was a barrier for anything.”

Representation matters, which is why this is such great news.

Illinois reporter Tahera Rahman has just become the first woman in the USA to present the news on TV while wearing a hijab.

Read:
Noor Tagouri: ‘Having a token representative is not acceptable’
Canada’s first hijabi newscaster on representation and breaking barriers

The 27-year-old got very used to hearing the word ‘No,’ she told the Quad City Times after her first broadcast. Many people she encountered early in her career suggested that her hijab would be a barrier to professional success.

 

“It would be a lot easier if I took it off. I wouldn’t get as much hate,” Rahman explained to the paper.

“People would still think my name sounds weird, but, you know, it’s definitely not as weird as seeing someone who looks like me on TV.”

However, she was determined to get a job on her own terms, rather than bending to fit. That’s now paid off – she’s the newest on-air face of CBS-affiliate Local 4 News in Rock Island.

“I’ve done everything I wanted to do in life wearing (my hijab) and I never felt it was a barrier for anything,” Rahman told the Quad City Times of her wait to find a job that would accept her.

“Taking it off might get me this job a lot quicker, but I don’t think I should have to sacrifice who you are to do that.”

With the support of her family and colleagues, Rahman made the transition from behind-the-scenes producer to reporter.

In November last year, Ginella Massa became the first hijabi newscaster in Canada.

Her advice?

“Be persistent, don’t give up, and work on being the best, so no one can ever have a reason to say no,” she told Forbes at the time.

We’d say Rahman is across that.

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Images: Tahera Rahman/Twitter