Affirmative Action

General

Policies intended to promote access to education or employment aimed at a historically socio-politically non-dominant group (typically, minorities or women). Motivation for affirmative action policies is to redress the effects of past discrimination and to encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals and police forces to be more representative of the population.

This is commonly achieved through targeted recruitment programs, by preferential treatment given to applicants from socio-politically disadvantaged groups and in some cases through the use of quotas.

Opponents of affirmative action policies argue that it is based on collectivism and merely another form of discrimination because it can result in qualified applicants being denied entry to higher education or employment because they belong to a particular social group (usually the historically socio-politically dominant group; typically majority races and men), regardless of social standing or financial need.


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