Affirmative Action

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Affirmative Action

Quick Summary of Affirmative Action

A principle underlying policies in employment and education aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for all.

It extends non-discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, gender identity, religion and sexual orientation, to the objective of achieving, over the course of time, a profile of the workforce or organisational body that reflects the representation of various groups in the pool from which the institution or enterprise recruits it’s workers or members.

What is the dictionary definition of Affirmative Action?

Dictionary Definition

n. the process of a business or governmental agency in which it gives special rights of hiring or advancement to ethnic minorities to make up for past discrimination against that minority. Affirmative action has been the subject of legal battles on the basis that it is reverse discrimination against Caucasians, but in most challenges to affirmative action, the programs have been upheld. In 1995 there was substantial political agitation to repeal or modify federal and state affirmative action laws.


Full Definition of Affirmative Action

Positive or constructive action rather than inaction. Affirmative action programs and regulations attempt to compensate for discriminatory practices that have in the past denied fair consideration to members of minority groups. For example, an all-white government office may take steps to hire people of colour. Or, a mostly-male college program may seek to balance its admissions by giving preference to female applicants. Affirmative action programs are controversial in the present political climate — many have recently been eradicated or have come under attack — and the subject is likely to be hotly debated for many years to come.

Examples of Affirmative Action in a sentence

The latest events are likely to reopen debates about affirmative action.
Donald Trump opposes abortion, affirmative action, immigration and imports in many of its different forms.
In relation to affirmative action, it was felt that some of the provisions within the Act were unclear about what is and what is not permitted.
Affirmative action is intended to redress some of the disadvantages minorities are subject to within society.
Affirmative action assuages white guilt.
Until recently, the court had not fully considered the workplace rules on affirmative action.

Synonyms For Affirmative Action

positive action, affirmative measures, remedial measures, positive steps, positive measures

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Affirmative Action. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. August 01, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Affirmative Action. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 01, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Affirmative Action. Retrieved August 01, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Affirmative Action are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 45 Views.