Affirmative action or positive discrimination is the policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who are perceived to suffer from discrimination within a culture.
The nature of positive discrimination policies varies from region to region. Some countries, such as India, use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of jobs or school vacancies must be set aside for members of a certain group. In some other regions, specific quotas do not exist; instead, members of minorities are given preference in selection processes.
The term "affirmative action" was first used in the United States in Executive Order 10925 and was signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961. It was used to promote actions that achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to take "affirmative action" to "hire without regard to race, religion and national origin".
In 1967, sex 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 privileged majority population.
It is often instituted for government and educational settings to ensure that certain designated "minority groups" within a society are included "in all programs".
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.
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 1973-2003 showed that the effect of affirmative action on advancing black, Hispanic, and white women into management, professional, and technical occupations occurred primarily during the 1970s and...