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Black women continue facing hair discrimination at work

May 2023
Black women continue to face discrimination in the workplace because of their hair even after new laws.

These are key findings from the 2023 CROWN Workplace Research study:

Black women’s hair is two and half times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional.

About 66% of Black women change their hair for a job interview.

More than 20% Black women, between the ages of 25 and 34, have been sent home from work because of their hair.

Black women are stuck in a lose-lose proposition. Wearing natural hairstyles puts them at risk of discrimination while changing their hair can be harmful to their health, reports Harvard Business Review.

Studies have found that hair products commonly used by Black women may be linked to breast and uterine cancer.

New laws have been approved to ban hair discrimination. For example, about 20 states in the US have passed laws against hair discrimination. In France, parliament this Fall will vote on a law to protect women from being discriminated based on their hair texture, length, color and style.

Still, to counter discrimination, employers need to work more on raising awareness, listen to employee feedback and increase objectivity in company policies, writes diversity expert Janice Gassam Asare in Harvard Business Review.

Reference shelf:
How Hair Discrimination Affects Black Women at Work (Harvard Business Review)

Hair Discrimination Research (CROWN Act)

France urged to outlaw hair discrimination against afros and braids (The Guardian)

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