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Position:Countries supporting affirmative action

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List of countries supporting affirmative action

In some countries which have laws on racial equality, affirmative action is rendered illegal by a requirement to treat all races equally. This approach of equal treatment is sometimes described as being "race-blind", in hopes that it is effective against discrimination without engaging in reverse discrimination.

In such countries, the focus tends to be on ensuring equal opportunity and, for example, targeted advertising campaigns to encourage ethnic minority candidates to join the police force. This is sometimes described as "positive action" or "positive discrimination".

  • Canada. The Canadian Employment Equity Act requires employers in federally-regulated industries to give preferential treatment to four designated groups: Women, people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, and visible minorities. Some provinces and territories also have affirmative action-type polices. For example, in Northwest Territories in the Canadian north, Aboriginals are given preference for jobs and education and are considered to have P1 status. Non-aboriginal people who were born in the NWT or have resided half of their life there are considered a P2, as well as women and disabled peoples. Men receive the lowest priority, P3. GNWT - Human Resources - Affirmative Action
  • Finland. In certain university education programs, including legal and medical education, there are quotas for Swedish-speaking applicants. The aim of the quotas is to guarantee that a sufficient number of Swedish speaking professionals are educated, thus safeguarding the linguistic rights of the Swedish-speaking Finns. The quota system has met with criticism from the Finnish speaking majority, some of whom consider the system unfair. In addition to these linguistic quotas, women may get preferential treatment in recruitment for certain public sector jobs if there is a gender imbalance in the field.
  • France. The French Ministry of Defense tried in 1990 to give more easily higher ranks and driving licenses to young French soldiers with North-African origins. After a strong protest by a young French lieutenant in the Ministry of Defense newspaper ("Armées d'aujourd'hui"), this driving license and rank project was canceled. (article: Jean-Pierre Steinhofer: "Beur ou ordinaire").
  • Germany. Article 3 of the German constitution provides for equal rights of all people regardless of sex, race or social background. In recent years there has been a long public debate about whether to issue programs that would grant women a privileged access to jobs in order to fight discrimination. There are programs stating that if men and women have equal qualifications, women have to be preferred for a job. This is typically for all positions in state and university service as of 2007, typically using the phrase "We try to increase the percentage of females in this line of work"
  • Japan. Admission to universities as well as all government positions (including teachers) are determined by the entrance exam, which is extremely competitive at the top level. It is illegal to include sex, ethnicity or other social background (but not nationality) in criteria. However, there are informal policies to provide employment and long term welfare (which is usually not available to general public) to Burakumin at municipality level.
  • Macedonia. Minorities, most notably Albanians, are allocated quotas for access to state universities, as well as in civil public services.
  • Malaysia. The National Economic Policy or NEP is one of the longest and most developed forms of racial affirmative action in the world. It promotes structural changes in various aspects of life from education to economic to social integration. Born after the race riots of 1969, it sought to address the significant imbalance in the economic sphere where the minority Chinese population had substantial control over commercial activity in the country. The dissatisfaction this caused among the native Malay resulted in the race riots of May 13, 1969. Tun Abdul Razak who took over the premiership from the country's first PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman, initiated the NEP. Since then racial violence has subsided but there are continued and persistent attacks on the policy from the Chinese and Indian community, claiming that it gives Malays an unfair advantage and is self-defeating, as it arguably makes Malaysia less economically competitive compared to its neighbours and entrenches structural privileges not based on merit. According to the government's own study, the policy has yet to achieve its target of redistributing 30 percent of national wealth to the Malays which constitute 50 per cent of the population. However, there are studies that contradict this and there are questions pertaining to each study's methodology. Malysia is multiethnic country, with Malays making up the majority, close to 52% of the population. About 30% of the population are Malaysians of Chinese descent. Malaysians of Indian descent comprise about 8% of the population. However, 99% of Petronas directors are Malays, only 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese, only 5% of all new intakes for government army, nurses, polices, are non-Malays, just 7% of government servants in the whole government are ethnic Chinese (2004), drop from 30% in 1960, and 95% of all government contracts are given to Malays.<ref>Bumiputra Policy in Malaysia</ref>
  • New Zealand. Individuals of Māori or other Polynesian descent are often afforded preferential access to university courses, and scholarships.UK Commission for Racial Equality website "Affirmative action around the world" [1]
  • Norway. All public company (ASA) boards with more than five members, must have at least 40 % women (can not be made up of more than 60%). This affects roughly 400 companies.
  • Slovakia. The Constitutional Court declared in October 2005 that affirmative action i.e. "providing advantages for people of an ethnic or racial minority group" as being against its Constitution. [2]
  • South Africa. The Employment Equity Act and the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act aim to promote and achieve equality in the workplace (in South Africa termed "equity"), by not only advancing people from designated groups but also specifically disadvancing the others. By legal definition, the designated groups include all people of color, white females, people with disabilities, and people from rural areas. The term "black economic empowerment" is somewhat of a misnomer, therefore, because it covers empowerment of any member of the designated groups, regardless of race. However, government’s employment legislation reserves 80% of new jobs for black people and favours black owned companies.Simon Wood meets the people who lost most when Mandela won in South Africa It is quota-based, with specific required outcomes. By a relatively complex scoring system, which allows for some flexibility in the manner in which each company meets its legal commitments, each company is required to meet minimum requirements in terms of representation by previously disadvantaged groups. The matters covered include equity ownership, representation at employee and management level (up to board of director level), procurement from black-owned businesses and social investment programs, amongst others.
  • Sri Lanka. In 1971 the Standardisation policy of Sri Lankan universities was introduced as an affirmative action program for students from areas which had poor educational facilities due to 200 years purposeful discrimination by British colonialists. The British had practised communal favoritism towards Christians and the minority Tamil community for the entire 200 years they had controlled Sri Lanka, as part of a policy of divide and conquer. This is one of the reasons for the Sri Lankan Civil War.
  • Sweden. The Swedish democracy, although very careful about minorities' rights and integration, does not allow affirmative action. They are considered barely a kind of discrimination, and although aimed at strengthening weakers' rights they are considered not fair. Affirmative actions are also considered to emphasize the minorities' identity as a different, separate body, actually making weak feel even worse and stigmatized, as they are entitled to something just because of their ascribed characteristics.
  • United States. Affirmative action in the United States occurs in school admissions, job hiring, and government and corporate contracts. Its intended beneficiaries are disadvantaged ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, and veterans. Affirmative action has been the subject of numerous court cases, and has been contested on constitutional grounds. California, Michigan, and Washington have banned various forms of affirmative action by government organizations. According to U.S. Office of Personnel Management's annual report "Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program", a total of 48,033 new minority employees have been hired by the feds from FY 2001 to FY 2006. During the same period there has been a net decrease of 3,960 white male employees in federal jobs.Template:Fact

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