Affirmative action


Positive action taken to overcome underrepresentation of certains groups (generally women and members of minority groups) in employment (including career advancement programs) and in the make-up of student bodies, as compared to the composition of the area population.

example of use

Compensatory programmes were devised in developed countries as part of the formal education system when the conclusion was reached that providing a genuine equality of chances was not just a question of giving the same resources and instruction to all students. On the contrary, it was deemed necessary to concentrate more effort on students in difficulty, and to provide their schools with more resources. These ‘affirmative action’ programmes were adapted and introduced in many developing countries as well, especially in Latin America (Atchoarena, Grauwe and Sylla, 2000: 7).

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