It is the responsibility of government to provide equal opportunity to all of it’s citizen. For this reason governments around the world have been implementing equal opportunity programs to encourage economic equality. Programs that state how no individual can be discriminated against because of sex or race. These programs provide individuals of low-income families a chance to expand their education and gain equality in the work force. Originally affirmative action faced many problems, as it is far from perfect. People still view it as a form a reverse discrimination that can not be justified by making up for discrimination of the past. Recent changes in legislation have aimed to improve these programs and eliminated their problems. One of the major groups who benefit from affirmative action is women. Women are gaining more powerful jobs, better education, and higher wages because of it. Another group who benefits from affirmative action is minorities. They are able to gain high paying jobs based on their merit, instead of receiving low paying jobs no matter what their credentials. People should receive positions on merit instead of race or sex. It is also very important to avoid taking affirmative action to the extreme where it becomes a form of reverse discrimination. So it becomes important for governments to implement programs to insure economic equality.
In the United States affirmative action if used properly provides equal opportunity for all, and special treatment for none. It has been proven as an effective program that eliminates discrimination in the work force and in higher education. Originally affirmative action could be defined as a set quota of minorities to be met by employers and a decrease in educational standards for minority groups. It created a great sense of reverse discrimination when people are hired because of minority status and not on their qualifications. Recent changes in United States affirmative action state how employment should be determined on merit, and merit alone. Reverse discrimination in itself defeats the entire purpose of an anti-discrimination legislation. The government is presently correcting the injustices of the past that have created a huge debate about affirmative action. On July 19, 1995 President Clinton delivered a speech containing 4 points to make sure that affirmative action is fair too all parties.
? No quotas.
? No reverse discrimination
? No preferences for unqualified individuals.
? No continuation of programs that have met their goals.
Any program that does not mean these 4 points will promptly be eliminated or changed.
The program has also been very successful as of late.
In the past women have faced many obstacles in the work place. From employment wages to advancement women have been struggling to gain equality in the work force. On average women make 71 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women in professional positions with the same education and experience receive an average of $10,000 less a year for an equal amount of work. This shows how much more difficult it is for women to achieve the status that their male colleges have reached. Programs such as affirmative action are helping to correct this, and create an equal opportunity for both sexes without punishing the other. These programs have been extremely successful. One study found women age 20-54 experienced increased job stability between 1965-1983 as a result of affirmative action. The number of women in professional position has more than doubled in the last 3 decades; the percentage of women doctors has doubled from 7.6% to 18.3%; the percentage of women lawyers and judges has grown from 5.6% to 25% since 1973. These numbers alone prove how effective affirmative action has been in the work place. Men not only women benefit from affirmative action as many of todays families are 2 income, and reap the extra income of the female. Programs have put women one step further to gaining equal opportunity in the work force.
Another major benefactor of affirmative action has been the education system. It gives talented people who may not normally be given the chance to further their education. If applied properly AA adds diversity to a campus. In the past colleges have used AA inappropriately and created a backlash of racism towards minorities. At most Ivy League schools the entrance is a GPA around 4.0 and SAT score over 1200, schools grant minority applicants entrance with GPAs less than 3.0 and SAT scores under 1000. This is not how AA should be used. No student should be accepted to a post-secondary school unless they meet a general requirement. The education system has been plagued by quotas, which are the focus of most of the anti-affirmative action campaign. For example, in the past a class with 60 open positions would set aside 5 positions for minority students only, but recent changes in legislation have created a fair system. There will be 60 open positions for students and if 5 minority students are not placed in the class then 5 new positions will be opened for them. This takes away the feeling that the white students are being taken from. Enrollment programs have increased minority student enrollment. At UC Berkley Asian American enrollment has tripled and Hispanic enrollment has increased 15% since 1980. Affirmative action adds a lot to Americas education system and gives minority students better opportunities. Programs also provide extra funding to inner city schools and projects. As a whole AA works to provide equal opportunity to women and minorities very successfully and has proven to be helpful to a country.
Programs such as affirmative action are important. If they are used improperly they can generate a movement against them, but if they are fair and do not set out to punish the majority then and only then should they be implemented. “Affirmative action has been good for America. But that does not mean it has always been perfect. That does not mean that it should go on forever. Affirmative action should be retired when its job is done — and I am resolved that that day will come. But the job is not done.” —–President Clinton, Wednesday, July 19, 1995
The idea of AA is very important to the strength of a nation and governments should be encouraging programs such as it to promote prosperity.