affirmative action

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affirmative action,

in the United States, programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. The policy was implemented by federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two executive orders, which provided that government contractors and educational institutions receiving federal funds develop such programs. The Equal Employment Opportunities Act (1972) set up a commission to enforce such plans.

The establishment of racial quotas in the name of affirmative action brought charges of so-called reverse discrimination in the late 1970s. Although the U.S. Supreme Court accepted such an argument in Regents of the University of California v. BakkeRegents of the University of California v. Bakke,
case decided in 1978 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court held in a closely divided decision that race could be one of the factors considered in choosing a diverse student body in university admissions decisions.
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 (1978), it let existing programs stand and approved the use of quotas in 1979 in a case involving voluntary affirmative-action programs in unions and private businesses. In the 1980s, the federal government's role in affirmative action was considerably diluted. In three cases in 1989, the Supreme Court undercut court-approved affirmative action plans by giving greater standing to claims of reverse discrimination, voiding the use of minority set-asides where past discrimination against minority contractors was unproven, and restricting the use of statistics to prove discrimination, since statistics did not prove intent.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 reaffirmed a federal government's commitment to affirmative action, but a 1995 Supreme Court decision placed limits on the use of race in awarding government contracts; the affected government programs were revamped in the late 1990s to encompass any person who was "socially disadvantaged." Since the mid-1990s, in a public backlash against perceived reverse discrimination, California and a number of other states have banned the use of race- and sex-based preferences in state and local programs and contracting, and public education. A 2003 Supreme Court decision concerning affirmative action in universities allowed educational institutions to consider race as a factor in admitting students as long as it was not used in a mechanical, formulaic manner. This requirement was tightened by the Court in 2013, which said that courts that approve of the consideration of race in university admissions must be sure that the diversity achieved could not have been accomplished using other means.

In Europe, the European Court of Justice has upheld (1997) the use in the public sector of affirmative-action programs for women, establishing a legal precedent for the nations of the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
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.

affirmative action

see POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION.
References in periodicals archive ?
To learn more about the Positive Action for MSM and Transgender programme or for information on how to submit a proposal for the next call for proposals, please visit: https://www.
Of the 21 Positive Action intervention lessons taught, nine lessons were revised by the research team to combine two lessons from the published curriculum into one lesson.
Given that the use of positive action is not obligatory we cannot be certain how much of a difference that the introduction of this aspect of the Equality Act will have in terms of changing operational practice.
If a white Scottish, Irish or Welsh person, or white European, considers themselves to be under represented then they are accepted as a minority group, and thus covered by the positive action elements of legislation affecting training opportunities.
Photographs of students who have been helpful are pinned on notice boards and along the corridors there are numerous positive action memory jogs.
The demonstrators themselves, an international amalgam of different people, cultures, and interests, were a primer of globalization in positive action.
Such actions, he said, would spark internal cooperation, satisfy a regulatory agency's need for positive action and create public awareness of waste control efforts.
Yet there are conspicuous absences,some of which concern issues about which NASA has long been urged to take positive action.
BOISE, Idaho, April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) has reviewed the research literature from the efficacy studies of Positive Action and has updated its intervention summary.
To mark International Women's Day (March 8, 2015), Women for Positive Action has launched a practical and informative new educational tool entitled 'Hepatitis and coinfection in women living with HIV'.
A number of youngsters have been caught and dealt with appropriately and positive action will be taken in relation to any further incidents of a similar nature.

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