Though natural hairstyles are more popular these days, Black women who wear styles like curly afros, twists, or braids are less likely to get job interviews, reports CNN.
A study — which has yet to be published — conducted by researchers from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business reports that participants deemed natural hairstyles as unprofessional.
Researchers selected hundreds of people from various racial backgrounds to score potential job candidates for competence, professionalism, among other things. As a result, the findings show that Black women with natural hair scored lower for competence and professionalism compared to Black women with straight hair.
In addition, Black women donning natural coifs had lower scores than white women with straight hair and curly hair.
Despite companies’ recent efforts to “eradicate racism at systemic and structural levels,” researcher Ashleigh Shelby Rosette — a management professor and a senior associate dean — noted that many biases remain.
“Our individually held biases often precede the type of racist practices that become embedded and normalized within organizations,” Rosette said in the press release.
Long before this study, anti-Black hair sentiments have been a barrier for Black women in the workforce. However, today, some industries allow for culturally significant styles, says Rosette. For example, natural hairstyles in advertising are more acceptable than in management consulting.
“This may be because advertising is viewed as a more creative industry than consulting with less rigid dress norms,” the press release said.
Although the study highlights discrimination against Black women with natural hairstyles, Rosette emphasizes that the researchers don’t cosign racist behavior.
“In no way are we asking that the Black woman change who she is,” she said. “We’re asking that people understand that this difference exists.”