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What is affirmative action? Essay

Affirmative action refers to those policies that are involved with gender, ethnicity, and race in an attempt to promote equal opportunities in the societal human needs and demands provision and access. Arguably, affirmative action is a two fold system in that it takes into consideration maximization of benefits to all people in the society while redressing the overall disadvantages that arise due to overt, involuntary or institutional discrimination. Bulk of the historical connotations of US and other countries is denoted by slavery, apartheid, segregation, and bigotry among others.

According to the International Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, it is stipulated in article 22 that programs employing affirmative actions should be established by the member states that have ratified the convention (Freedom House Staff, 2008). As indicated in the definition, affirmative action entails a holistic consideration of discriminatory aspects based on various considerations. Therefore, it is a broad discipline and holistically encompasses aspects like racism, discrimination for the disadvantaged, gender bias, and ethnicity.

However, equal opportunity policies refer to only one discipline relating to employment. Equal employment policies requires that all people regardless of their color, national origin, religion, race, sex, or veteran status should have access to equal opportunity in the public services. The policies further indicate the people should only be limited only by their own abilities. Currently, affirmative action is still needed due to the fact that some of the vices it advocates against are still existent. Vast cases of job and gender discrimination have been reported in major public offices like US Amy and US Navy.

Besides, it should remain in force until the vice is fully eliminated from the society. Therefore, it should be used as a direct check for implementation of the recommendations by the International Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. Success of affirmative action in formal organizations is due to the fact that they are directly owned by the government. Therefore, these organizations and institutions are directly owned by the people as they are maintained by their revenue.

However, informal sector is considered to be directly and privately owned and therefore independently managed via independent policies. Though this should never be used as part of the excuse to advocate for discrimination, informal sector has the autonomy of operations and not directly responsible to give account of the system they use in their activities. However, countries should extend the demand for affirmative actions to the informal sector if discrimination is to be stepped out completely (Freedom House Staff, 2008). b) How do federal laws define sexual harassment in the workplace?

Is sexual harassment the same as discrimination? Should a “reasonable worker’s standard” or a “reasonable woman’s standard” be utilized to determine instances of sexual harassment? Discuss the relationship between power, authority, and instances of harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that is considered to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII denotes that it is any unwelcome sexual advances either visual, verbal, or physical conducts that are pervasive and which affect or create a hostile working environment.

It adds that the victim could be a man or a woman and not necessarily of the opposite sex. Besides, unlawful sexual harassment could occur without economic injury. The victim does not necessarily have to be the harassed person, but any person affected by the offensive act. It also adds that the harasser could be an agent of the employer, supervisor, co-worker or even a non employee (Florence & Michele, 2008). Sexual harassment is not the same as discrimination in that it can be effected by different people in the work places.

To add top that, it can occur to other people apart from those affected by the offensive actions as indicated by the federal laws on sexual discrimination. However, it is considered as part of the discrimination because in most of the cases those who resist are bound to get less chances of access to especially promotions by their aggressors. To add to that, the hostile environment created is considered to be unethically ineffective for working by the oppressed. Reasonable woman’s stand should never be used as a platform to determine instances of sexual harassment.

This is because all operations are supposed to be professionally oriented and all people are diversely unique. Ethically, sexual harassment should not have risen in the first place and therefore every situation is supposed to be specifically considered and assessed to determine whether sexual harassment took place or not. Over the years the demand for non-discriminative platform has forced the authorities to seek better means of addressing the problem. As a result, power is denoted by the policies and institutional capacity to address various aspects of harassment.

It is the legal platform that declares various actions to be wrong and or right. Then authority is the system which is given the mandate to operationalize those powers necessary to ensure that discrimination does not take place. This authority may be distributed among different government arms to investigate, and execute the punitive measures recommended by the law to ensure that justice is done. However, authority and power are involved with great trial to reduce and finally eliminate the vice fully from the society (Florence & Michele, 2008).

b) As more women enter the workforce, how has their position in the organization changed and how has it remained the same? How much power and authority have women gained through the years? Have women achieved equality with men in the workplace? Arguably, historical injustices against women have been termed as some of the most unethical aspects in the work places. To add to that, scholars have lamented on sexual harassment added to the prior injustices especially at the work paces.

However, changes have occurred greatly in the recent past as more women are fast accessing careers in different areas previously thought to be reserves or men. Therefore, the position of women has greatly changed as they are currently being involved more with decision making, expressing their concerns and changing the previous women discriminative vices in the society. Both in the formal and informal sectors, the previous woman is totally different as she is more advanced economically and even politically.

However, scholars have lamented that this has not penetrated to the grass root level and more empowerment should be articulated. Besides, it is even worse when it comes to the women in the third world countries who are still lagging far much behind even in the 21st century (Benjamin, 2008). Though, the quantity of power and authority women have gained over time is highly debatable, it is clear that the current woman is totally different from the woman of the past. Politically, women are able to vote and decide on the choice of their leaders.

This is seen as a great milestone especially in the US and Europe history. Unlike during the olden times, most of the women are able to hold any office on the land in most of the countries. During the 2007 US general election women were among the contenders of the highest office on land. Hilary Clinton was contending for nominations to the democratic candidate after which she would have contended for presidency. In Germany, the current chancellor is a woman while Philippine president is a woman too.

However, Margaret Thatcher astonished many for her capacity to effectively serve as a prime minister for England. Though women have gained much, they are still far from gaining equality with men in the work places. Equality denotes having direct consideration of competitiveness and a possible 50-50 orientation of the system. However, due to the previous system that was so much male dominated, the entry by the women has been much lower (Kelly, 2008). To add to that, most of the men had already advanced greatly in terms of management, a system which only few women have achieved considering their numbers.

Reference list Freedom House Staff, (2008). Freedom in the World 2008: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Incorporated. Florence, D. & Michele, A. (2008). Psychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and Theories. Washington: Greenwood Publishing Group. Kelly, M. (2008). Workplace Law Handbook 2008. New Jersey: Workplace Law Group Benjamin, F. S. (2008). Culture and Customs of the United States. Washington: Greenwood Publishing Group.


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