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Looking inside of the walls of hair discrimination Part 3: black women and the workplace

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MERCER COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA)- We've been digging into an issue that some consider controversial, hair discrimination, bringing you stories from men who feel they've been singled out in school or sports for their hairstyles.

WVVA's Jennifer Roberts is wrapping up this hair series by looking inside the walls of a place where some studies are showing black women are statistically judged the most, the workplace.

According to The Crown Research Study, what's accepted for many black women in the workplace, isn't natural. Approximately 2,000 women were surveyed across the country, half of the women black, half of the women non-black, all working full-time jobs.

Nearly 80 percent of the black women surveyed feel they have to change their hair from it's natural state to fit in at the office. And 83 percent feel judged more harshly on looks compared to other races.

Andrea Brunais retired from a communications job, coaching people on how to put their best foot and looks, forward. She says no person should be forced to change their appearance to meet anyone's physical expectations.

"Studies show people view straight hair as more professional," Brunais said. "But if [your hair] is not naturally straight, why change your appearance from the way you're naturally born. Why can't we just embrace who we are as people?"

CROWN is an acronym for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair."

We spoke with numerous women in Bluefield for reactions about The Crown Research Study, also sharing their personal hair experiences in the workplace. Watch their stories in the video attached above.

Jennifer Roberts

Multimedia Journalist

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