Did you know …
- A Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work
- Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home or know of a Black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair
In the US, the law in many states does not currently afford protection for race-based hair discrimination, even if the hairstyle is inherent to racial identity. That means Black women can be denied opportunities for employment or professional advancement without consequence. It means Black children can be denied entry to school or educational opportunities because of their natural hair. This is NOT OK. That’s why in 2019 we co-founded the CROWN Coalition in partnership with the National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty to advance anti-hair discrimination legislation called The CROWN Act. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyle. Our mission was, and is today, to advance efforts to end hair discrimination and to create a more equitable and inclusive beauty experience for Black women and girls.
How the CROWN Act is enacting change
While there is still a lot of work to do, there has been progress.
The CROWN Coalition sponsored The CROWN Act (SB 188) in California, introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell. California was the first state to sign The CROWN Act into law on July 3, 2019. With support from the CROWN Coalition, the bill is now law in 6 other states (CO, MD, NY, NJ, VA, WA). On September 21, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act (HR 5309) federal bill; just nine months after it was introduced by Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA). Now we’ll advocate for the U.S. Senate to pass the CROWN Act under the leadership of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Once signed into law, these bills ensure that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles, are protected from discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools. The CROWN Coalition continues to galvanize support for legislation to end hair discrimination federally and in all 50 states. Our CROWN petition has over 189,000 signatures so far, too, and you can sign it here.
We’re in this fight together
Black women are unfairly impacted by societal norms and corporate grooming policies, creating distractions that impact our whole society. We know diversity has a positive impact on a workplace, and that companies that fire, refuse to hire or promote Black women because of their protective hairstyle destabilizes individuals, households and the broader economy. The workforce may boast more working women than ever, but Black women still remain pressured to conform to Eurocentric standards of appearance. Black women report receiving formal grooming policies at a rate significantly higher than White women. Natural hairstyles inherent to Black identity such as locs, braids, bantu knots, etc. are ranked the lowest for professional appearance.
We want to see a world where we are all valued for who we are, a world where we express our individuality without any concern or consequence. No woman should ever be “judged” or held back by her hair.
Follow @Dove and visit TheCROWNAct.com to see the progress we’re making together. In addition to signing the petition, write to your state legislators and U.S. Senators to encourage them to pass anti-hair discrimination legislation in your state and across the country. Here is an easy to use letter template for you to download.