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Black women with natural hair less likely to land job interview, study reveals

Best natural hair moments from the 2018 Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show (Photo by Cassidy Sparks for Steed Media)

When it comes to employment, Black women are less likely to get a job interview if they wear their hair in a natural style, a report says.

In a study conducted by researchers from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, it revealed that women who wore natural hairstyles such as twists, braids, Afros, and dreadlocks were viewed as less professional than those with straightened or relaxed hair.

The findings of the study will be published by Social Psychological and Personality Science during the week of Aug. 17, 2020, according to CNN.

The study included hundreds of participants of different races who were asked to screen potential job candidates similar to how recruiters usually discover potential employees. The screeners were asked to give candidates a score for competence, professionalism, and other factors based on their social media profiles.

The participants gave Black women with natural hair lower scores for competence and professionalism and rarely recommended them for interviews.  In contrast, Black women with straightened hair, White women with straight hair, and White women with curly hair were often given higher scores for professionalism and were more likely to be recommended for an interview.

In one segment of the study, participants were shown the same Black woman. However, they rated her differently when she wore her hair in a natural style versus straight. She was given higher scores when she wore her hair in a straightened style.

To combat hair discrimination in the workplace, lawmakers across the country are pushing for legislation known as the Crown Act. Short for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, the Crown Act would prohibit hair discrimination in the workplace, schools, and public spaces.