The Natural Hair Bias in Job Recruitment

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Across four studies, we demonstrate a bias against Black women with natural hairstyles in job recruitment. In Study 1, participants evaluated profiles of Black and White female job applicants across a variety of hairstyles. We found that Black women with natural hairstyles were perceived to be less professional, less competent, and less likely to be recommended for a job interview than Black women with straightened hairstyles and White women with either curly or straight hairstyles. We replicated these findings in a controlled experiment in Study 2. In Study 3A and 3B, we found Black women with natural hairstyles received more negative evaluations when they applied for a job in an industry with strong dress norms. Taken together, this article advances the research on biases in the labor market in the age of social media use and highlights the importance of taking an intersectional approach when studying inequity in the workplace.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Koval, CZ; Rosette, AS

Published Date

  • July 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 741 - 750

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1948-5514

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1948-5506

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1948550620937937

Citation Source

  • Scopus