Affirmative action describes policies that support members of a disadvantaged group that has previously suffered discrimination in such areas as education, employment, or housing. The nature of affirmative action policies varies from region to region. Some countries use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of government jobs, political positions, and school vacancies must be reserved for members of a certain group; an example of this is the reservation system in India.
In some other regions where quotas are not used, minority group members are given preference or special consideration in selection processes. In the United States, affirmative action in employment and education has been the subject of legal and political controversy. Bollinger , held that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as a plus-factor when evaluating applicants holistically and maintained the prohibition on the use of quotas.
This approach to equal treatment is described as being " color blind ". In such countries, the focus tends to be on ensuring equal opportunity and, for example, targeted advertising campaigns to encourage ethnic minority candidates to join the police force. This is sometimes described as " positive action ". Kennedy on 6 March , which included a provision that government contractors "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin".
In , President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order which required government employers to take "affirmative action" to "hire without regard to race, religion and national origin". This prevented employers from discriminating against members of disadvantaged groups.
In , gender was added to the anti-discrimination list. Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined minority groups within a society to give them equal access to that of the majority population. It is often instituted for government and educational settings to ensure that certain designated " minority groups " within a society are able to participate in all provided opportunities including promotional, educational, and training opportunities. The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture,  and to address existing discrimination.
Affirmative action in university admissions: Research roundup - Journalist's Resource
Several different studies investigated the effect of affirmative action on women. Kurtulus in her review of affirmative action and the occupational advancement of minorities and women during showed that the effect of affirmative action on advancing black, Hispanic, and white women into management, professional, and technical occupations occurred primarily during the s and early s. During this period, contractors grew their shares of these groups more rapidly than noncontractors because of the implementation of affirmative action.
But the positive effect of affirmative action vanished entirely in the late s, which Kurtulus says may be due to the slowdown into advanced occupation for women and minorities because of the political shift of affirmative action that started by President Reagan.
Becoming a federal contractor increased white women's share of professional occupations by 0. Becoming a federal contractor also increased Hispanic women's and black men's share of technical occupations on average by 0. These represent a substantial contribution of affirmative action to overall trends in the occupational advancement of women and minorities over the three decades under the study.
Kim and Kim found that, "Affirmative action both corrects existing unfair treatment and gives women equal opportunity in the future. Law regarding quotas and affirmative action varies widely from nation to nation. Caste-based quotas are used in India for reservation. However, they are illegal in the United States, where no employer, university, or other entity may create a set number required for each race. It said that the requirements for the intake should be the same for all.
The justice minister said that the decision left no room for uncertainty. In some countries that have laws on racial equality, affirmative action is rendered illegal because it does not treat all races equally. This approach of equal treatment is sometimes described as being " color blind ", in hopes that it is effective against discrimination without engaging in reverse discrimination.
This is sometimes described as "positive action". The apartheid government, as a matter of state policy, favoured white-owned, especially Afrikaner -owned companies. The aforementioned policies achieved the desired results, but in the process they marginalised and excluded black people. Skilled jobs were also reserved for white people, and blacks were largely used as unskilled labour, enforced by legislation including the Mines and Works Act , the Job Reservations Act , the Native Building Workers Act , the Apprenticeship Act and the Bantu Education Act ,  creating and extending the "colour bar" in South African labour.
Since the s the apartheid laws had been weakened. The economic and politically structured society during the apartheid ultimately caused disparities in employment, occupation and income within labour markets, which provided advantages to certain groups and characteristics of people. This in due course was the motivation to introduce affirmative action in South Africa, following the end of apartheid.
Following the transition to democracy in , the African National Congress -led government chose to implement affirmative action legislation to correct previous imbalances a policy known as employment equity. As such, all employers were compelled by law to employ previously disenfranchised groups blacks, Indians , and Coloureds.
A related, but distinct concept is Black Economic Empowerment. The Employment Equity Act and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act aim to promote and achieve equality in the workplace in South Africa termed "equity" , by advancing people from designated groups. The designated groups who are to be advanced include all people of colour, women including white women and people with disabilities including white people.
Employment Equity legislation requires companies employing more than 50 people to design and implement plans to improve the representativity of workforce demographics, and report them to the Department of Labour. Employment Equity also forms part of a company's Black Economic Empowerment scorecard: in a relatively complex scoring system, which allows for some flexibility in the manner in which each company meets its legal commitments, each company is required to meet minimum requirements in terms of representation by previously disadvantaged groups.
The matters covered include equity ownership, representation at employee and management level up to board of director level , procurement from black-owned businesses and social investment programs, amongst others. The policies of Employment Equity and, particularly, Black Economic empowerment have been criticised both by those who view them as discriminatory against white people, and by those who view them as ineffectual.
These laws cause disproportionally high costs for small companies and reduce economic growth and employment. As mentioned previously affirmative action was introduced through the Employment Equality Act, 55 in , 4 years after the end of apartheid.
This act was passed to promote the constitutional right of equality and exercise true democracy. This idea was to eliminate unfair discrimination in employment, to ensure the implementation of employment equity to redress the effects of discrimination, to achieve a diverse workforce broadly representative of our people, to promote economic development and efficiency in the workforce and to give effects to the obligations of the Republic as a member of the International Labour Organisation.
Many embraced the Act; however some concluded that the act contradicted itself. The act eliminates unfair discrimination in certain sectors of the national labour market by imposing similar constraints on another. The BEE was not a moral initiative to redress the wrongs of the past but to promote growth and strategies that aim to realize a country's full potential. The idea was targeting the weakest link in economics, which was inequality and which would help develop the economy. This is evident in the statement by the Department of Trade and Industry, "As such, this strategy stresses a BEE process that is associated with growth, development and enterprise development, and not merely the redistribution of existing wealth".
BEE focuses more on employment equality rather than taking wealth away from the skilled white labourers. The main goal of Affirmative Action is for a country to reach its full potential. This occurrence would result in a completely diverse workforce in economic and social sectors. Thus broadening the economic base and therefore stimulating economic growth.
Once applied within the country, many different outcomes arose, some positive and some negative. This depended on the approach to and the view of The Employment Equality Act and affirmative action. Positive: Pre-Democracy, the apartheid governments discriminated against non-white races, so with affirmative action, the country started to redress past discriminations.
Affirmative action also focused on combating structural racism and racial inequality, hoping to maximize diversity in all levels of society and sectors. Negative: As with all policies, there have also been negative outcomes. A quota system was implemented, which aimed to achieve targets of diversity in a work force. This target affected the hiring and level of skill in the work force, ultimately impacting the free market. This created a bigger gap between the lower and middle class, which led to class struggles and a greater segregation. Some [ who? Negative consequences of affirmative action, specifically the quota system, drove skilled labour away, resulting in bad economic growth.
This is due to very few international companies wanting to invest in South Africa. South African jurist Martin van Staden argues that the way affirmative action and transformation policies have been implemented in South Africa has eroded state institutions, grown corruption , and undermined the rule of law in the country. There is affirmative action in education for minority nationalities. This may equate to lowering minimum requirements for the National University Entrance Examination, which is a mandatory exam for all students to enter university. Further, minority students enrolled in ethnic minority-oriented specialties e.
A class-based affirmative action policy was incorporated into the admission practices of the four most selective universities in Israel during the early to mids. In evaluating the eligibility of applicants, neither their financial status nor their national or ethnic origins are considered. The emphasis, rather, is on structural disadvantages, especially neighborhood socioeconomic status and high school rigor, although several individual hardships are also weighed.
This policy made the four institutions, especially the echelons at the most selective departments, more diverse than they otherwise would have been. The rise in geographic, economic and demographic diversity of a student population suggests that the plan's focus on structural determinants of disadvantage yields broad diversity dividends. Israeli citizens who are; Women, Arabs, Blacks or people with disabilities are entitled to Affirmative Action in the civil service employment.
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In her study of gender politics in Israel, Dafna Izraeli showed that the paradox of affirmative action for women directors is that the legitimation for legislating their inclusion on boards also resulted in the exclusion of women's interested as a legitimate issue on the boards' agendas. In the negotiation for status as worthy peers, emphasizing gender signals that a woman is an "imposter", someone who does not rightfully belong in the position she is claiming to fill. This suggests that affirmative action can have applications for different groups in Israel.
Reservation in India is a form of affirmative action designed to improve the well-being of backward and under-represented communities defined primarily by their caste. Malaysia provides affirmative action to the majority because in general, the Malays have lower incomes than the Chinese, who have traditionally been involved in businesses and industries, but who were also general migrant workers.
In the Standardization policy of Sri Lankan universities was introduced as an affirmative action program for students from areas which had lower rates of education than other areas due to missionary activity in the north and east, which essentially were the Tamil areas. Successive governments cultivated a historical myth after the colonial powers had left that the British had practised communal favouritism towards Christians and the minority Tamil community for the entire years they had controlled Sri Lanka.
However, the Sinhalese in fact benefitted from trade and plantation cultivations over the rest of the other groups and their language and culture as well as the religion of Buddhism was fostered and made into mediums for schools over the Tamil language, which did not have the same treatment and Tamils learned English instead as there was no medium for Tamil until near independence.
Tamils' knowledge of English and education came from the very American missionary activity by overseas Christians that the British were concerned will anger the Sinhalese and destroy their trading relationships, so they sent them to the Tamil areas instead to teach, thinking it would have no consequences and due to their small numbers. The British sending the missionaries to the north and east was for the protection of the Sinhalese and in fact showed favouritism to the majority group instead of the minorities to maintain trading relationships and benefits from them.
The Tamils, out of this random benefit from learning English and basic education excelled and flourished and were able to take many civil service jobs to the chagrin of the Sinhalese. The myth of Divide and Rule is untrue. The 'policy of standardisation' was typical of affirmative action policies, in that it required drastically lower standards for Sinhalese students than for the more academic Tamils who had to get about ten more marks to enter into universities.
The policy, were it not implemented would have prevented the civil wars ahead as the policies had no basis and in fact is an example of discrimination against the Tamil ethnic group. A legislation requires that, for a firm with employees or more wishing to compete for government contracts, at least 1 per cent of its employees must be Taiwanese aborigines.
In certain university education programs, including legal and medical education, there are quotas for persons who reach a certain standard of skills in the Swedish language ; for students admitted in these quotas, the education is partially arranged in Swedish. In addition to these linguistic quotas, women may get preferential treatment in recruitment for certain public sector jobs if there is a gender imbalance in the field.
No distinctions based on race, religion or sex are allowed under the French Constitution. Some schools, in neighborhoods labeled "Priority Education Zones", are granted more funds than the others. Students from these schools also benefit from special policies in certain institutions such as Sciences Po. The French Ministry of Defence tried in to make it easier for young French soldiers of North-African descent to be promoted in rank and obtain driving licenses. After the Sarkozy election, a new attempt in favour of Arab-French students was made, but Sarkozy did not gain enough political support to change the French constitution.
However, some French schools do implement affirmative action in that they are obligated to take a certain number of students from impoverished families. All appointments of males as directors will be invalid as long as the quota is not met, and monetary penalties may apply for other directors. Article 3 of the German Basic Law provides for equal rights of all people regardless of sex, race or social background. There are programs stating that if men and women have equal qualifications, women have to be preferred for a job; moreover, the disabled should be preferred to non-disabled people.
This is typical for all positions in state and university service as of [update] , typically using the phrase "We try to increase diversity in this line of work". In recent years, there has been a long public debate about whether to issue programs that would grant women a privileged access to jobs in order to fight discrimination.
Germany's Left Party brought up the discussion about affirmative action in Germany's school system. According to Stefan Zillich , quotas should be "a possibility" to help working class children who did not do well in school gain access to a Gymnasium University-preparatory school. This suggests that the law has had a marginal effect on the sex of the chair and the boards remain internally segregated.
Although at the beginning of our observation period, only 7 of 91 prominent directors were women. The gender balance among prominent directors has changed considerable through the period, and at the end of the period, women and men were prominent directors. By applying more restrictive definitions of prominence, the proportion of directors who are women generally increases.
If only considering directors with at least three directorships, When considering directors with seven or more directorships, all of them are women. Thus, affirmative action increase the female population in the director position. A study found no effect of the ASA representation requirement on either valuation or profits of the affected companies, and also no correlation between the requirement and the restructuring of companies away from ASA.
Romani people are allocated quotas for access to public schools and state universities. Quota systems existed in the USSR for various social groups including ethnic minorities as a compensation of their " cultural backwardness " , women and factory workers. Quotas for access to university education, offices in the Soviet system and the Communist Party existed: for example, the position of First Secretary of a Soviet Republic's or Autonomous Republic's Party Committee was always filled by a representative of this republic's " titular ethnicity ".
Modern Russia retains this system partially. Quotas are abolished, however, preferences for some ethnic minorities and inhabitants of certain territories  remain. The Constitutional Court declared in October that affirmative action i. In the UK, any discrimination, quotas or favouritism due to sex, race and ethnicity among other "protected characteristics" is generally illegal for any reason in education, employment, during commercial transactions, in a private club or association, and while using public services. In , an employment tribunal ruled that, while attempting to create a diverse force, the Cheshire Police had discriminated against a "well prepared" white heterosexual male.
The ruling stated that "while positive action can be used to boost diversity, it should only be applied to distinguish between candidates who were all equally well qualified for a role". The equality section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly permits affirmative action type legislation, although the Charter does not require legislation that gives preferential treatment.
Subsection 2 of Section 15 states that the equality provisions do "not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability".
The Canadian Employment Equity Act requires employers in federally-regulated industries to give preferential treatment to four designated groups: Women, persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, and visible minorities.blacksmithsurgical.com/t3-assets/fiction/the-cariboo-trail-a.php
Benefits of Affirmative Action Programs Essay
Less than one-third of Canadian Universities offer alternative admission requirements for students of aboriginal descent. Some provinces and territories also have affirmative action-type policies. For example, in Northwest Territories in the Canadian north, aboriginal people are given preference for jobs and education and are considered to have P1 status.
Non-aboriginal people who were born in the NWT or have resided half of their life there are considered a P2, as well as women and people with disabilities. The concept of affirmative action was introduced in the early s in the United States, as a way to combat racial discrimination in the hiring process, with the concept later expanded to address gender discrimination. Kennedy on 6 March and required that government employers "not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin" and "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin".
On 24 September , President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order , thereby replacing Executive Order and affirming Federal Government's commitment "to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a positive, continuing program in each executive department and agency".
In the U. These groups may be protected from discrimination under different laws. Affirmative action has been the subject of numerous court cases,  and has been questioned upon its constitutional legitimacy. In , a Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action in higher education Grutter v.
Bollinger , US — Supreme Court permitted educational institutions to consider race as a factor when admitting students. Some states such as California California Civil Rights Initiative , Michigan Michigan Civil Rights Initiative , and Washington Initiative have passed constitutional amendments banning public institutions, including public schools, from practicing affirmative action within their respective states. Conservative activists have alleged that colleges quietly use illegal quotas to increase the number of minorities and have launched numerous lawsuits to stop them.
Some Brazilian universities state and federal have created systems of preferred admissions quotas for racial minorities blacks and Amerindians , the poor and people with disabilities. It states, however, that such programs "shall in no case entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved".
The United Nations Human Rights Committee states that "the principle of equality sometimes requires States parties to take affirmative action in order to diminish or eliminate conditions which cause or help to perpetuate discrimination prohibited by the Covenant. For example, in a State where the general conditions of a certain part of the population prevent or impair their enjoyment of human rights, the State should take specific action to correct those conditions. Such action may involve granting for a time to the part of the population concerned certain preferential treatment in specific matters as compared with the rest of the population.
However, as long as such action is needed to correct discrimination, in fact, it is a case of legitimate differentiation under the Covenant. The principle of affirmative action is to promote societal equality through the preferential treatment of socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
Often, these people are disadvantaged for historical reasons, such as oppression or slavery. A study found that affirmative action in the United States "increases the black share of employees over time: in 5 years after an establishment is first regulated, the black share of employees increases by an average of 0. Strikingly, the black share continues to grow at a similar pace even after an establishment is deregulated.
One could argue that this persistence is driven in part by affirmative action inducing employers to improve their methods for screening potential hires. According to a poll taken by USA Today in , the majority of Americans support affirmative action for women, while views on minority groups were more split. Support among blacks, unlike among whites, had almost no correlation with political affiliation. Critics of affirmative action offer a variety of arguments as to why it is counterproductive or should be discontinued.
For example, critics may argue that affirmative action hinders reconciliation, replaces old wrongs with new wrongs, undermines the achievements of minorities, and encourages individuals to identify themselves as disadvantaged, even if they are not. It may increase racial tension and benefit the more privileged people within minority groups at the expense of the least fortunate within majority groups. But in his majority opinion, Justice Lewis Powell ruled that while UC could use race as a factor in admissions, quotas were impermissible. He argued, moreover, that attaining a diverse student body was the only real interest asserted by the university that survived legal scrutiny.
While the push for diverse representation in society is important, it has no place in the legislation of affirmative action. This ideology demands wisdom from an ignorant year-old that, rightly, the state should offer. Affirmative action should be about reparations and leveling a playing field that was legally imbalanced for hundreds of years and not about the re-centering of whiteness while, yet again, demanding free intellectual labor from the historically disenfranchised.
Read: The problem with how higher education treats diversity. Affirmative action, whatever the rationale, has also never been the only, or even the most important, advantage in college admissions. Somehow, advantages of this sort are often invisible to the general public. I had no connections there.
I got there by busting my tail in college. If Kavanaugh truly does believe that he is an island of his own merits, his lack of historical knowledge and his lack of awareness of his own privilege are terrifying for any judge, let alone a Supreme Court justice who could soon preside over affirmative-action cases.
Lee Bollinger, current president of Columbia University—and whose name was attached to Gratz v. Bollinger as then president of the University of Michigan—sees both its advantages and pitfalls. When I interviewed him for my graduate thesis just weeks before he presided over my Columbia commencement ceremony, he said his legal team presented the more society-appeasing argument somewhat instrumentally. Board of Education as opposed to Bakke.
Amnesia, defensiveness, and a lack of focus on any one issue as many of us scramble to address the current, nonstop assault on progressive values. And there have been ideas percolating around restorative justice and reparations for a long time. In , Britain, France, and the Netherlands were sued by 14 Caribbean countries demanding what could be hundreds of billions of pounds in reparations for slavery. That sort of acknowledgment, on both sides of the Atlantic, would be a start.
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