Natural Hair in the Workplace

Early in my career, someone once told me that my natural hair would never be professional. I internalized these comments, backed by my mental image of corporate America and professionalism. So much has changed in our culture and workplace since then, and we still have a way to go. We all have the ability, whether small or large, to positively impact and influence our culture and the way we work. I recently had the opportunity to develop a CROWN policy (“Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”) for a client, which expressed their commitment to an inclusive work environment and a written statement of protection against discrimination based on race-based textures and hairstyles. This voluntary, progressive policy will support a culture where all people feel respected, valued and empowered.

Encouraging employees to bring their authentic self to work requires employers to create a safe space. As a black woman, wearing my natural hair – whether in locs, braids, or a curly afro – is how I express self-love, pride, and my authentic self. I also see myself as an example for other women who want to see people like them in corporate America; I hope I am contributing to a safer, more inclusive place for them. Let’s continue to support each other, through policy and action, in the workplace.

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