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Dove Hair discrimination starts as early as five

Hair discrimination research: Dove CROWN studies

No one should be punished for the way their hair grows naturally from their head. From natural to braided hairstyles, and every other beautiful protective style in between, no one should be made to feel ‘less than’ or be bullied because their beauty doesn’t fit a standard or ideal. However, it’s no secret that discrimination against Black natural hair still exists. Our CROWN Research Studies reveal that racial discrimination based on hairstyles can start as early as five years old – and last a lifetime. It’s time to do everything in our power to confront this.

The 2019 CROWN Research Study for Women

No one should be denied opportunities, or be unfairly targeted because of their natural hair texture or protective styles. Yet, for many Black adults, racial discrimination based on hairstyles is still a part of day-to-day life. This is something we can’t ignore. Our 2019 CROWN Research Study found that workplace bias against hairstyles unfairly targets Black women and impacts their ability to celebrate their natural beauty. Black women are:

  • 1.5x more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair
  • 3.5% more likely to be perceived as ‘unprofessional’ because of their hair 
  • 30% more likely to be made aware of a formal workplace appearance policy
  • 80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work
  • 83% more likely to report being judged more harshly on their looks than other women

Racial discrimination against hairstyles has a real, measurable social and economic impact on Black women. This needs to change. 

The 2021 CROWN Research Study for Girls

Learning how to be confident is an essential part of growing up. But early experiences of hair discrimination can have a negative impact on building self-esteem. From formal school policies that ban hairstyles inherent to Black culture, to microaggressions from teachers and classmates, Black children are unfairly targeted every day. Our 2021 CROWN Research Study for Girls shows that:

  • 53% of Black mothers say their daughters have experienced racial discrimination based on hairstyles as early as five years old
  • 66% of Black children in majority-white schools have faced race-based hair discrimination 
  • 86% of those children have experienced it by the age of 12 
  • 90% of Black children stating that their hair is beautiful, 81% of Black children in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair was straight
  • 100% of Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools (who report experiencing hair discrimination) experienced discrimination by the age of 10

This harmful discrimination can last throughout a person’s lifetime, both in terms of experiencing discrimination, as well as the long-term effects it can have on confidence and self-esteem. We need to stand together to tackle the root of the problem. It’s our responsibility to come together and do everything we can to create a safe, respectful and open school environment – free from discrimination.

The time to act is NOW

Sign the petition 

We’re calling on everyone to join us and take action to #PassTheCROWN. In the US, many states do not give protection for discrimination based on hairstyles,even if the natural hairstyle is inherent to racial identity. We co-founded the CROWN Coalition in 2019 to advance anti-hair discrimination legislation called ‘The CROWN Act’. This is a law that prohibits discrimination based on natural hair texture and protective hairstyles.

Sign The CROWN Act petition and help make racial discrimination based on hairstyles illegal in schools and workplaces across the US.

Build hair confidence 

Racial discrimination based on hairstyles can start as early as five years old. We need to create systemic change to protect the next generation.The Dove Self-Esteem Project is committed to providing tools to increase confidence and boost self-image in Black children. My Hair, My CROWN is a tool for parents, teachers and mentors to boost hair love and confidence in kids with curls, coils and waves – and to build allyship in others. 

Download the resource and support the next generation in building self-esteem today.

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