Affirmative Action

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 17, 2022, 6:09

Affirmative Action is a policy that aims to increase employment or education opportunities for historically underrepresented groups in society to combat discrimination against said groups.

Businesses and governments frequently employ affirmative action policy programs to take into account an individual's race, gender, religion, or national origin.

Affirmative Action Policy Background

Affirmative action is a government-backed strategy that was created to help underrepresented groups gain access to opportunities. Admissions to colleges, professional employment, and accessibility to services such as housing and financing are just a few of the opportunities covered. The policy's principal goal was to assist in the diversification of various aspects of society.

In the 1960s, this strategy gained popularity in the United States as a means of promoting equitable opportunity for all members of society. The Affirmative action policy was created to ensure that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aimed to abolish discrimination, was followed through.

Early implementations of the affirmative action policy primarily aimed to end minorities' ongoing social segregation from organizations and opportunities. Despite legislation prohibiting prejudiced activities in the United States, there was no rapid shift in the status quo.

In recent years, campaigns to make institutions more inclusive have grown in scope, focusing on increasing gender diversity. Newer rules also attempt to give veterans and individuals with disabilities greater access to possibilities.

Affirmative Action Implementation

Assistance to expand opportunities open to underrepresented groups can be used to encourage change. Grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial assistance can be used to help certain sections of society gain access to higher education.

Hiring methods may be revamped, so that diverse candidates are considered for job opportunities. Companies and organizations may be required by government agencies to hire a certain number of qualified professionals of various ethnicities, genders, and cultures. Institutions that fail to meet such conditions may be barred from obtaining government funding or competing for public contracts.

Affirmative Action Policy - Pros and Cons

Advantages of Affirmative Action

One of the most obvious advantages of affirmative action measures is that they provide opportunities to those who would not otherwise have them. This includes providing educational opportunities to children who may be underserved and allowing employees who might otherwise be unable to advance in their careers to do so.

Affirmative action policy supporters argue that the endeavour must continue due to low diversity in places of power, media coverage, and insufficient recognition of disadvantaged groups' accomplishments.

Disadvantages of Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action policies typically refer to these efforts as a collective failure, claiming the minor changes in the status quo despite decades of effort as proof. A major portion of the opposition is motivated by the cost of such programs and the notion that affirmative action forces people to make unjustified compromises.

According to some people, there is next to no prejudice in society, at least not in their opinion. Furthermore, they say that affirmative action causes reverse discrimination, which can lead to qualified people being disregarded in favour of less qualified candidates.

Affirmative action aims to provide people and groups who have traditionally been underrepresented or (in some circumstances, prohibited) from specific sections of academia, government, and the workforce with more opportunities. It also provides funds to these groups in the form of grants and scholarships.

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FAQs on Affirmative Action

Q.1) What does affirmative action look like in workplaces?

Affirmative action includes outreach initiatives, target recruitment, staff and management development, and staff support programs.

Q.2) How is affirmative action enforced in workplaces?

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against persons based on their race, religion, sex, or national origin in hiring, firing, salary, or other kinds of employment factors under affirmative action regulations.

Q.3) What's the difference between a quota and an affirmative action goal?

Affirmative action is a strategy used by institutions to help underrepresented individuals and communities enhance their educational and economic odds. Quotas invoke diversity without taking genuine inclusion into account.

Q.4) What is the purpose of an affirmative action policy?

An affirmative action policy encourages women and other formerly oppressed people to attend universities and provides financial aid.