This study is in response to the OFSTED Education Inspection Framework 2019. World Afro Day has conducted – The Hair Equality Report, including a survey of 1000 respondents with support from researchers at De Montfort University.
What is the Hair Equality Report?
The Hair Equality Report provides evidence to quantify the problem of hair discrimination in schools. How pupils are affected by it and what can be done to change it?
It provides robust evidence so that the problem is no longer hidden and creates motivation and impetus for change.
The report looks at how this area of inequality has changed over time by comparing the current generation of children’s experiences to previous generations.
It makes recommendations and calls for changes to address hair discrimination.
Why the Hair Equality Report is importance?
The report is needed because there is a lack of awareness about this problem within governing bodies, school authorities and the general public.
Hair discrimination has gone unrecognised for decades and needs to be addressed.
Evidence was needed to support the calls for change and to educate people about the problems.
Afro hair bias has been a global topic, gaining momentum but some of the key flashpoints, have been discrimination against children.
The specific findings of “The Hair Equality Report” include:
- 1 in 4 adults (24%) said they had a bad or very bad experience at school with their Afro-textured hair and identity. Plus 68% preferred to have straight Caucasian or Asian hair when they were children.
- 86% of respondents with Afro hair believe that Afro hair is a God-created design.
- 95% want similar protection in the UK to the law passed by the New York Human Rights Commission, which bans discrimination by employers, schools and other public places, based upon hairstyle (specifically natural styles for Black people).
- 95% believe current hair policies in schools, which penalise Afro-textured hair should be removed or made more inclusive.
Parents on behalf of children
- 16.6% (1 in 6 children) of parents said that their children have a bad or very bad experience at school with their Afro-textured hair and identity, compared to 24% of adults when they were young.
- Out of the children with bad experiences, 46% of parents said that their children’s school policy penalised Afro hair, compared to only 27.6% of adults saying that this was a problem when they were at school.,
- Of those with bad experiences, parents said 82.9% of their children experienced touching hair without permission, which was in the same region for the adults 88%.
- 41% said their children preferred/wanted to have straight Caucasian/Asian hair, compared to 68% for the adults when they were young.
- Over 36.7% of parents said that their children indicated that the school environment (including pre-school) most influenced their desire to change their hair type from curly to straight? Which is slightly better than 40.5% for adults when they were young.
- Out of the 16.6% of children having bad experiences. 51% were not taught anything about Afro hair in biology and 54% were not taught techniques to draw Afro hair.
Michelle De Leon, Founder and Director of World Afro Day CIC said:
“Institutional racism is evident from the systems and policies that exist within an organisation or setting, that discriminate against a specific group of people. What the Hair Equality Report brings to the surface is the reality of the negative experiences that these policies have created for children (and adults) with Afro hair.
Institutional racism can be created and controlled because its existence is a result from systems and policies that have been created by people. The Hair Equality Report has created the platform for the voices of over 1000 people to be heard through its School Hair Survey.
Furthermore, it is also an opportunity to prompt more research and discussion. This is not a case of “conscious vs unconscious bias” and nor is it about using institutional racism carelessly as a term. This is about calling for the need to hold school settings accountable while being measured and monitored by the Ofsted framework. If not now, then when?”
Reference: The Hair Equality Report