Affirmative Action and its Main Aim

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Affirmative action is an active effort to improve employment and educational opportunities for members of minority groups and for women. Affirmative action is used to ensure the respect of diversity within the public. It was implemented to provide equality in workplace environments and educational settings. In this essay, I will provide a brief history of affirmative action, explain all its meeting goals and shortfalls, and discuss the impact of affirmative action in the workplace.

Affirmative action was first introduced by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, which directed government contractors to take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin” (NCSL, 2010). Later in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson extended Kennedy’s order to issue Executive Order 11246, which included women in the Civil Rights Act. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Affirmative action began as a government remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against such groups and has consisted of policies, programs, and procedures that give preferences to minorities and women in job hiring, admission to institutions of higher education, the awarding of government contracts, and other social benefits” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017). As a public policy, affirmative action has helped build respect for the diversity of the public in school and workplace settings. Many employers and schools encourage diverse individuals to apply and become a part of their businesses or educational programs.

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The main purpose of affirmative action is to establish nondiscriminatory access to employment and educational opportunities for women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. Since it was first established, affirmative action has been meeting the goals it was set to address. Schools across the United States have followed this action by allowing a diverse range of students to attend their schools. Schools are allowing international students to attend and be part of their programs. More employers are adopting affirmative action as their business model. According to Human Resources, “Affirmative Action guarantees that policies, practices, and procedures that the employer implements are equal opportunity for recruitment, selection, advancement, and every other term and privilege associated with employment” (Human Resources, 2016). Having a diverse workplace allows employers to succeed by having multicultural employees who can provide assistance to a variety of people by overcoming language and cultural barriers. A downside of affirmative action is that it can create reverse discrimination. This means that workplaces will hire a diversity of personnel, potentially discriminating against majority groups, which historically have been white individuals. Another downside is that affirmative action’s policies can generate stigma between employees, leading to questions about why a minority or woman obtained the work position.

Affirmative action can produce a positive interpersonal relationship between employees in a workplace. Affirmative action creates such a relationship by increasing opportunities and productivity. It can provide everyone with the chance to advance positions, get promotions, or receive an increase in pay rate within the workplace. Affirmative action can boost the productivity of a workplace by encouraging employees to interact with one another to generate new ideas. It can foster a social environment that is beneficial for developing interpersonal relationships. Diversity is one of the most effective strategies that can be implemented to create a positive environment at work. Implementing a diverse environment for employees is beneficial as it enhances the social interactions between different cultures. According to Samuel Hamilton, “when a workplace isn’t diverse, employees tend to grow complacent and comfortable, which can hurt their dedication to the job” (Hamilton, 2015). This often occurs due to a lack of interaction with other people. That being said, creating activities where employees are required to share their input on a topic or solve a problem as a team can be a great strategy to enforce for a positive environment.

In conclusion, affirmative action was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 in Executive Order 10925. It was intended to offer equal opportunities to women, minority groups, and individuals with disabilities in both the workplace and educational settings. Schools and employers are integrating affirmative action into their guidelines as they increasingly accept more diverse individuals. The primary purpose of the action was to create a positive environment; however, it does have some drawbacks, such as creating stigma between employees. Overall, employers can introduce and enforce strategies to facilitate better interpersonal relationships between employees.

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Affirmative Action and Its Main Aim. (2019, Oct 22). Retrieved from