Did you know …
- A Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work¹
- 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 hair¹
- 1 in 2 Black children have experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old – and the impact can last a lifetime
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. In 2019, we co-founded the CROWN Coalition in partnership with the National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law & Poverty to advance The CROWN Act. 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 so much work to be done to pass the law nationwide, progress has been made. 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. The CROWN Act and laws inspired by the CROWN Act have been enacted in 19 states: California (2019), New York (2019), New Jersey (2019), Virginia (2020), Colorado (2020), Washington (2020), Maryland (2020), Connecticut (2021), Delaware (2021), New Mexico* (2021), Nebraska* (2021), Nevada (2021), Oregon* (2021), Illinois* (2021), Maine (2022), Tennessee* (2022), Louisiana* (2022), Massachusetts (2022) and Alaska* (2022). Additional bills are awaiting governor's signature in Alaska and Illinois*. In 2021, Illinois original bill, Senate Bill 3616 was a protection for schools ONLY; the new amendment to SB3616 would add the protection of workplaces as well.
On March 18, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act, and if a companion bill passes in the Senate, it would make hair discrimination based on the texture of natural hair illegal under Titles VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other Federal civil rights laws.
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. We will not stop until the CROWN Act is law in all 50 states. Our CROWN petition has over 430,000 signatures so far. The time to act is now: you can sign it here and email your senator today.
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 ever2, 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.1 Natural hairstyles inherent to Black identity such as locs, braids, bantu knots, etc. are ranked the lowest for professional appearance.1
Black children are being scrutinized, simply for wearing their hair naturally, the way it grows from their heads. 53% of Black mothers, whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination, say their daughters experienced the discrimination as early as five years old.3 It’s time to change this. Protecting the right for Black children to wear natural and protective styles freely is a crucial step in building their self-confidence. Together, we can take action and increase confidence in kids with curls, coils, waves and protective styles.
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 person should ever be “judged” or held back by their hair.
Follow @Dove and visit TheCROWNAct.com to see the progress we’re making together. Already signed the petition? Write to or Tweet your local senator to encourage them to pass anti race-based hair discrimination legislation in your state.