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Definition of Affirmative action:

Affirmative action is a policy by which companies and government institutions increase the opportunities and uplift people belonging to a race, gender, nationality, or religion.  
The policy keeps in mind groups who were historically discriminated against or discouraged from pursuing certain positions, professions, or a group of study. 

Resources that can help you:
What does Affirmative action mean for businesses?
Impact of eliminating Affirmative action on minority and female employment
Myth vs Reality: Affirmative action