Definition of affirmative action noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


affirmative action

BrE BrE//əˌfɜːmətɪv ˈækʃn//
; NAmE NAmE//əˌfɜːrmətɪv ˈækʃn//
(especially North American English) (usually British English positive discrimination) [uncountable]
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the practice or policy of making sure that a particular number of jobs, etc. are given to people from groups that are often treated unfairly because of their race, sex, etc. The City Council implemented the affirmative action hiring plan in response to critics’ charges that the police department did not reflect the city’s racial makeup. compare reverse discrimination Culture Americans are divided about the US government policy of affirmative action and often say it is ‘reverse discrimination’. It has existed since the 1960s, but the Supreme Court has since decided against strict quotas (= numbers of people) and forcing affirmative action on private businesses. The more informal practice in Britain is sometimes known as ‘positive discrimination’. see also Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: affirmative action

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