Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Has Affirmative Action Aided American Women?

Affirmative Action Has Helped Female Workers in the United States Tremendously
Affirmative Action has often been criticized on the grounds that it causes "reverse discrimination," the result of which excludes qualified applicants from employment at the expense of less qualified applicants.  Of course, to believe that, you have to believe that white men are inherently more qualified then white women, minorities, foreigners, etc.
You've Come a Long Way, Baby
In any event, I came across the following excerpt from Wikipedia recently, and thought it worth sharing:
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"Thanks in large measure to affirmative action and civil rights protections that opened up previously restricted opportunities to women of all colors, from 1972-1993:
– The percentage of women architects increased from 3% to nearly 19% of the total;
– The percentage of women doctors more than doubled from 10% to 22% of all doctors;
– The percentage of women lawyers grew from 4% to 23% of the national total;
– The percentage of female engineers went from less than 1% to nearly 9%;
– The percentage of female chemists grew from 10% to 30% of all chemists; and,
– The percentage of female college faculty went from 28% to 42% of all faculty. (Moseley-Braun 1995, 8)
Furthermore, since only 1983, the percentage of women business managers and professionals grew from 41% of all such persons, to 48%, while the number of female police officers more than doubled, from 6% to 13% (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census 1995, Table 649). According to a 1995 study, there are at least six million women — the overwhelming majority of them white — who simply wouldn’t have the jobs they have today, but for the inroads made by affirmative action."

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I am a believer that equal employment and educational opportunities should be available to all and, while some elements of Affirmative Action may be troubling, there can be little doubt that, where women are concerned, it has worked.  And that's a good thing.



John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania.  

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