The principle of affirmative action is to promote societal equality through the preferential treatment of socially and economically disadvantaged people.
Often, these people are disadvantaged for historical reasons, such as oppression or slavery. Support for affirmative action has sought to achieve a range of goals: bridging inequalities in employment and pay; increasing access to education; enriching state, institutional, and professional leadership with the full spectrum of society; redressing apparent past wrongs, harms, or hindrances and in particular addressing the apparent social imbalance left in the wake of slavery and slave laws.
For example, a 2017 study found that affirmative action in the United States of America "there is an increase in the share of black employees over time: in 5 years after an establishment is first regulated."
Though there were developments in Liberty, Economy and Technology in United States of America, still there were sustained discrimination on the basis of colour till the later period of Twentieth century. This raised Civil Rights agitations there.
Following this Affirmation Action was introduced by John F.Kennedy in 1960s in the United States of America. This was called as Executive Order 10925. Through this order, Govt requested the employers not to discriminate their employees or candidates on the basis of race, creed, colour, or national origin.
This order was replaced by another order 11246 in the year 1965. By this the Federal Government commit "to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a positive, continuing program in each executive department and agency". In the U.S., affirmative action's basic purpose was to pressurize institutions into compliance with the nondiscrimination mandate of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Affirmation Action was extended to women in 1967.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination stipulates that affirmative action programs may be required for all countries that ratified the convention, in order to rectify systematic discrimination. It states, however, that such programs "shall in no case entail as a consequence of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives are achieved."
The United Nations Human Rights Committee states that "the principle of equality sometimes requires State parties to take affirmative action in order to diminish or eliminate conditions which cause or help to perpetuate discrimination prohibited by the Covenant.
Following the transition to democracy in 1994, South Africa chose to implement affirmative action through legislations to correct previous imbalances. As such, all employers were compelled by law to employ previously disenfranchised groups (blacks, Indians, and Coloured) . By this the companies employing more than 50 people have to design and implement plans to improve the workforce demographics, and report them to the Department of Labour. Employment Equity also forms part of a company's Black Economic Empowerment scorecard. Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled that in principle blacks may be favoured.
China followed some sort of affirmative action in education for minority nationalities.
Quota systems existed in the USSR for various social groups including ethnic minorities, women and factory workers for access to university education, offices in the former Soviet union.
The educational system which we had in Ancient India was discriminatory. People were permitted to undergo education on the basis of their own caste. After the introduction of new education system in modern India, the marginalized communities are not allowed in the main stream.
In south India, new or modern education was introduced by Christian missionaries of European nations. In the initial part of 19th century, British established more number of Christian missionaries in many parts of India. Many communities, who were denied educational opportunities, utilized the choice for their development.