Affirmative Action

Affirmative action refers to a broad range of policies and rules in which the ethnic, gender, or other group characteristics matter in the determination of education and labor market opportunities. Policies of this type are in effect in many countries, with historical context determining the targeted groups. For example, India has an extensive reservation system that allocates seats at educational institutions in a way that provides quotas for disadvantaged castes. Castes are social classes within Indian society transmitted across generations with strong restrictions on intermarriage. Another prominent example along racial lines is the privilege given to Bumiputera members (primarily Malay and other indigenous ethnicities) in Malaysia and Brunei, although in this case affirmative action is in favor of the majority ethnicity rather than minorities. A ...

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