On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, I have written to Equalities Minister Liz Truss calling on her to stop all forms of hair discrimination.
We must combat racism wherever we find it in our society, and this all-too-prevalent form of prejudice must end.
Read my letter in full…
We are writing to urge you to take action to end hair discrimination in schools, colleges and workplaces, and throughout society.
This is racial discrimination, pure and simple.
In the UK today, too many people’s lives are still blighted by discrimination, inequality or injustice. Sadly, hair policies enforced by schools and employers – officially or unofficially – are an all-too-prevalent form of racial discrimination.
Despite the clear ban on racial discrimination in the Equality Act 2010, we still hear appalling cases of black children being sent home from school because of their afros, black boys being told to cut off their dreadlocks, black women being turned down for jobs because they wear their hair in braids or cornrows, and black employees being told to chemically straighten their natural hair.
The UK must move further and faster to combat racism wherever we find it in our society.
This is racial discrimination, pure and simple. It is unacceptable and it must stop.
We therefore urge you to work with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, as well as your colleagues in the Departments for Education and Business, to develop new guidance for schools and employers to prevent hair discrimination in policies and practices.
We believe your office should also develop an awareness campaign to help schools and employers understand their obligations not to discriminate in relation to hair, and to help pupils, parents and employees understand how to uphold their rights not to be discriminated against.
Finally, we urge you to conduct a review to determine whether any further changes – including legal changes – are necessary to prevent hair discrimination.
We are sure you will agree that the UK must move further and faster to combat racism wherever we find it in our society, and that includes ending hair discrimination.
We look forward to your response.