Despite a surge in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes, the hijab has been making waves in the west. With steadily increasing visibility, Muslim women are taking a new prominence in western countries.

One area where hijab-wearing Muslim women are breaking down barriers and making themselves seen and heard is on television news. 

Here are three women who have anchored western news broadcasts wearing the veil.

1. Ginella Massa in Canada

Canada's Ginella Massa is the latest hijabi TV news journalist to make international headlines. On Friday, Massa anchored her first newscast for CityNews in Toronto, becoming the first woman wearing the Islamic headscarf to do so in the country.

Massa was born in Panama and arrived in Canada with her mother at the age of 1. Massa was raised Muslim after her mother converted to Islam while Massa was still very young. 

 "Even when I had my own doubts about making it as a hijabi on TV, my mom always told me that just because it hadn’t been done before, didn’t mean it wasn’t possible," she told Love. Laugh. Live. 

"It feels pretty amazing to be recognised as the first," Mass told The New Arab

"But it's also a shame that it has taken this long in a country as diverse as Canada."

Citing the current climate in the west towards Muslims, Massa said she hopes she can help "change perceptions about what Muslim women can do and be."

2. Fatima Manji in the United Kingdom

Fatima Manji is a TV journalist from the United Kingdom. She shot into the international spotlight after she anchored Channel 4 News coverage of the attack in Nice, France in July.

An editorial in The Sun newspaper attacked Channel 4 News and Manji, saying featuring her was "editorial stupidity" and suggested it was somehow insensitive to have Manji anchor coverage of the Nice attack. 

This criticism was due to the fact that the attack was carried out by a Muslim Tunisian resident of France. But, as later reports revealed, one third of the victims of the attack were Muslim and the attacker himself, although claimed by ISIS, was not religious and had a history of substance abuse and crime.

Many were quick to jump to Manji's defense and she stood strong in the face of the Islamophobic attack.

3. Noor Tagouri in the United States

Claiming two firsts for a hijabi this year, Noor Tagouri has risen quickly to international attention. 

The Libyan-American journalist became the first hijab-wearing news anchor on commercial U.S. television. Then, she stole headlines again when she became the first hijabi featured by Playboy magazine ... a big contrast to the magazine's erotically oriented style. 

Tagouri was included in Playboy's Renegades of 2016 October issue, which features stereotypes-crushing men and women. "They’ve risked it all - even their lives - to do what they love, showing us what can be accomplished if we break the rules," explains Playboy.

Of course, Tagouri has drawn controversy for both firsts but she told Playboy that she just ignores the backlash. 

"It’s just negative energy and unhealthy... I just do the best I can to not worry about people who get upset because they don’t like something that I wear or say," she said.