Last year, Massachusetts became the 18th state to adopt the CROWN Act, an imperative bill that shields individuals from discrimination over natural and protective hairstyles in the workplace and other institutions. But as lawmakers work tirelessly for the bill to be passed nationwide, the fight to end race-based hair discrimination continues.
A new study co-commissioned by Dove and LinkedIn found that Black women’s hair was 2.5 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional in the workplace. The data revealed that 66 percent of Black women often change their hair for a job interview, with many opting for a straight hairstyle over their natural coils.
Participants said they were overlooked for job opportunities and faced microaggressions
54 percent of participants surveyed felt they had to wear their hair straight to be seen as professional or successful. Other women said they experienced microaggressions from co-workers or higher-ups when wearing their natural or textured hair around the workplace.
“More than 20 percent of Black women aged between 25-34 had been sent home from work because of their hair,” the study noted.
Young black professionals are feeling the brunt of the hair discrimination crisis in the U.S. According to the study, 44 percent of Black women under 34 said they felt pressured to have a headshot with straight hair, while 25 percent revealed that had been denied a job interview or overlooked for opportunities because of their hair.
“For far too long, black women and men have been subject to unfair treatment, outright discrimination and a myriad of inequities for simply wearing our natural hair texture and hairstyles that are inherent to our cultural identity,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, President & CEO of Unilever Personal Care in North America in a statement.
“This includes being denied employment, being sent home from work, being overlooked for promotions and a range of microaggressions. This may be hard to believe, but it is real, clearly unwarranted and unacceptable.”
Eggleston Bracey added:
“The goal of the partnership between Dove and LinkedIn is to help put an end to race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. We intend to shine a light on this issue and call upon employers, hiring managers and professionals to adopt equitable and inclusive practices that create a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
To put help put an end to hair discrimination, Dove and LinkedIn have teamed up to provide free access to ten LinkedIn Learning courses focused on creating a more equitable and inclusive work environment. Both companies hope to educate 1 million hiring managers and workplace professionals by the end of 2023.
In March 2022, New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Waston Coleman helped The House pass the historic CROWN act bill to The Senate for further consideration. The measure, which is also referred to as H.R. 2116, was passed with a sweeping 235 to 189 vote.
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