Ginella Massa, who became Canada's first hijab-clad TV news reporter when she began working for CTV News last year, broke another glass ceiling this week by becoming Canada's first TV anchor to wear a hijab while filling in for a CityNews colleague.
“It wasn’t until my editor said, ‘Hey, great job! Was that a first for Canada? A woman in a hijab?’ And I said yes. And so I tweeted about it. As much as I knew it was important, I didn’t expect the reaction that I received. My phone hasn’t stopped buzzing for the last week,” Massa, a Toronto native, told the AP on Friday.
“I’ve talked to many women who are journalists in the US who work behind the scenes and they’ve told me that they face multiple challenges trying to get on air,” she continued. “They’ve been told because of their hijab, that’s not going to happen. That makes me really sad because they’re being held back by someone else’s idea of what the public can or cannot handle.”
Indeed, America is still waiting for its first hijabi news anchor. Noor Tagouri, a Libyan-American from Maryland, began a social media campaign to get her hired as the country's first hijabi anchor in 2012. It hasn't happened yet, but as a result, she's been profiled in the Washington Post and Marie Claire and worked for CBS Radio. She currently works as an anchor for social media video news outlet Newsy.
Massa says she has faced some negativity from her visibility, telling the Hollywood Reporter, "Hatred does exist. I've seen it firsthand: on my Twitter timeline, in the comment sections of articles written about me." She says Trump being elected, combined with increased attacks against Muslims across North America have made her job and visibility that much more important.
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.