Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action

A series of policies a government or organization pursues to help a given demographic group, especially a historical minority, in work and/or education. Affirmative action may be mild; for example, race may be one of a number of factors a university considers when deciding admission. On the other hand, it may impose stringent requirements; for example, a government may oblige companies to abide by gender quotas when hiring.

Affirmative action as a policy is quite controversial. Proponents argue it helps engender equality among groups in society. Critics contend it does (or at least can) reward less qualified persons at the expense of more qualified persons.

The term "affirmative action" is predominantly American. The concept is called positive discrimination in the United Kingdom, employment equity in Canada and reservation in India.
References in periodicals archive ?
The employment equity hiring policies and programs proposed by the Network targeted equity-seeking and historically disadvantaged residents living anywhere in the city, not only in marginalized communities adjacent to where new transit lines will be built.
Employment equity policy was intended to ensure fairness in the workplace by removing systemic barriers due to factors unrelated to merit.
Therefore, it is appropriate to ask why there is persistent opposition to employment equity and its implementation.
Firstly, the lack of a clear definition of disability as different from chronic illness has yielded a lack of clarity as to who counts as disabled for employment equity targets.
The following persistent barriers to employment equity have been identified in various studies and reports on gender inequities in Canadian universities: overt and systemic discrimination; hiring practices and pay structures; career interruptions (pregnancy/maternity); end of mandatory retirement (aging academic workforce vs.
The Employment Equity Act is designed to improve job opportunities for these four specific groups; according to this Act, private and public sector employers operating in federally regulated industries that employ 100 or more employees must design, implement and monitor the results of equity plans in order to ensure representation of designated groups in their workforce.
On the Employment Equity Act, Melvin says: "It has been in place long enough to redress the imbalance of skills, I believe that it is high time that the Act is abolished.
Under the Employment Equity Act, companies are required to have a certain percentage of minorities on staff.
These women expressed strong support for antiracism education and employment equity.
Queen's is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
In order for a government department to be able to generate accurate employment equity statistics, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), the group responsible for ensuring compliance with the Employment Equity Act, requires that 80 percent or more of the employees must respond to questionnaires.
These steps are evidenced by the implementation of the Employment Equity Act of 1998.

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