Bozoma Saint John’s Latest Partnership Takes On Hair Discrimination In The Workplace
For corporate leader Bozoma Saint John, bringing her whole self to work is a vibe. Whether that means big curly hair, motherhood, or red lipstick, this badass boss in Silicon Valley is loud and proud.
Over the years, Saint John has been revered for her bold fashion sense as a top executive working in the C-suite. Today, her personal hair story will help raise awareness about discrimination in the workplace, thanks to a recent partnership with Dove, the CROWN Coalition, and LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network.
According to Forbes, the powerful quartet sealed the deal on the launch of the #BlackHairIsProfessional campaign, which will serve to spark conversations, support the passing of the CROWN Act nationwide, and create more equitable workspaces for Black women to embrace their natural hairstyles. In addition, the partnership aims to educate one million hiring managers and workplace professionals by the end of 2023. This includes providing free access to 10 LinkedIn Learning courses.
“I’m a big believer in taking ‘action,’ so the fact that this campaign involved helping to create a systemic change in the workplace was something I 100% wanted to support,” Saint John told Forbes.
From afros and braids to locs and twists, these hairstyles celebrated in Black culture and condemned by systemic racism have negatively impacted how Black men and women succeed professionally. The 2023 CROWN Research Study co-commissioned by Dove and Linkedin shows that Black women’s hair is 2.5x more likely to be perceived as unprofessional in the workplace. Moreover, Black women with coily/textured hair are “2x as likely to experience microaggressions in the workplace than Black women with straighter hair.”
As a Ghanaian-American and Hall of Fame marketer, Saint John takes pride in showing up in a way that empowers other Black women. But it wasn’t always easy to change up her hairstyles to fit the corporate office norms.
“The danger is that I had to be careful of the ‘harmless’ jokes, which would later make me stare in the mirror the next morning, trying to convince myself that I should repeat my hairstyle,” Saint John recounted to Forbes.
“But just like any other part of my appearance, I’ve realized I am my best self-defense. So I can’t be quiet when I’m offended, but it also feels good to have a cheering squad too”.
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As a result, the Urgent Life author and creator of “The Badass Workshop” personally celebrates the efforts of The Crown Act. This law prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles. It stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” and was created in 2019. Saint John is also a “Top Voice” on LinkedIn with a “badass” story and an authentic style that proudly represents Black women in the corporate world.
“Wherever you are where you can’t be accepted for who you are is not the place for you to be,” Saint John once said in an interview in 2018.