A new survey has revealed that a majority of Black women feel they must change their hair to be taken seriously for job opportunities.
According to a CROWN Research Study, 66% of Black women admitted that they altered the way they normally would wear their hair during job interviews to lessen the chances of them being passed over for a position. Furthermore, 25% of Black women said they were not offered a job because of their hair.
About 1,000 Black women between the ages of 25-64 took part in the survey.
Andrew McCaskill, a senior director of global communications and career expert for LinkedIn said in an NBC News report that workplaces must now “work better” for women in general, but especially Black women who are now opting to straighten their hair with chemical relaxers, which can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.
The survey said that Black women who do wear their hair naturally are twice as likely to experience microaggressions at the workplace compared to Black women with straight hair. Another 25% of Black women said that they were sent home because of their hair.
“What we know is that, as you get more mature in your career, you’re typically also more confident in your skills that you have and what you bring to the table,” McCaskill said. “For younger folks, these types of aggressions and microaggressions can cause real angst for them in terms of even to the point of doubting their skills and saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”
In recent months, lawmakers have pushed for legislation to pass the CROWN Act, which would ban discrimination based on an individual’s hair. California, Minnesota and Massachusetts were some of the states who worked to pass the legislation.
Employers are in a unique position to foster diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace by “giving people space for their authenticity at work and being intentional about it,” McCaskill explained, adding that they must “believe Black women when they have the bravery and courage to say that they are experiencing microaggressions and or hair discrimination at work.”
He concluded: “If your authentic self and your authentic hair are not welcome in that space, that’s probably not a space where you will be able to thrive anyway.”