Dove's newly released body of research, "Dove 2021 CROWN Research Study for Girls," unveils the alarming rate and age at which Black girls experience hair discrimination in schools.
The 2021 Dove CROWN Research Study for Girls was conducted by JOY Collective, a Black and women-owned firm, in July-August 2021 to assess the impact of hair discrimination before adulthood and the effect on their self-esteem in young Black girls.
The study revealed that hair discrimination begins early in a young girl's life following her into her teen years, resulting in a negative impact on her self-esteem, causing trauma that transcends generations.
At least 53 percent of Black mothers say their daughters experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old, and approximately 86 percent of Black teens who experience discrimination have endured it by the age of 12.
Dove believes Black women and girls should have the freedom to wear their hair how they choose without the fear of job loss or education.
As previously revealed in the Dove CROWN Research Study (2019), Black women were 1.5 times more likely to have reported having been sent home or know of a Black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair.
The 2021 Dove CROWN Research for Girls reveals that 47 percent of Black mothers report having experienced discrimination related to their hair. Among them, 81 percent remember the experience happening by the time they were 12 years old.
"Our groundbreaking 2019 CROWN research study revealed that Black women are 80 percent more likely to change their hair from its natural state to fit in at the office," said EVP & COO of Unilever North America, Esi Eggleston Bracey. "Now, this new body of research illuminates the pervasive nature and deep impact hair discrimination has on Black girls highlighting the horrific multi-generational impact of narrow beauty standards in America."
Hair bias and discrimination are prevalent in predominately white schools, where Black girls are most vulnerable to racial prejudice and discrimination. According to research, 66 percent of Black girls in majority-white schools report experiencing microaggressions and discrimination, causing them to miss at least a week of school. Approximately 81 percent of Black girls in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair were straight.
An online survey was completed in the U.S. by 1000 girls, with an even number of Black and Caucasian girls, age 5-18. The group included a mix of Black girls who attend predominantly Black schools, diverse schools, and primarily white school environments.
The survey included questions about personality descriptors, bias in school, school hair policy, the impact of hair bias, and recreation of the 1954 Doll Test. All data were tested at a 95 percent confidence level.
Fueled by these research findings, Dove released a short film, As Early As Five, inspired by the real stories of those who have experienced hair discrimination and bias in schools and the workplace. As Early As Five depicts three scenarios of race-based hair discrimination experienced by a girl through elementary school, high school, and adulthood.
Since the launch of the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act legislation in 2019, Dove has been committed to ending race-based hair discrimination across 14 states.
"These biases continue to perpetuate unfair scrutiny and discrimination against Black women and girls for wearing hairstyles inherent to our culture," said Eggleston Bracey. "This is unacceptable and why it is imperative that everyone join the movement to make hair discrimination illegal nationwide through the passage of The CROWN Act."
Nationwide recognition of The CROWN Act would help protect the estimated 2.3 million Black children who are most vulnerable to race-based hair discrimination.
Join Dove as their mission to raise awareness for The CROWN Act legislation, and spark urgency among parents and school administrators to ensure a positive change for the next generation by signing The CROWN Act petition at Dove.com/CROWN.