Equality of opportunity and affirmative action

This paper deals with the policy of affirmative action as an additional means for achieving equality of opportunity in society. It assumes that in modem society-at least in principle-the superior positions are distributed according to merit, and on the basis of fair competition. I argue that formal equality of opportunity injects apparently neutral requirements, such as experience, into the selection procedure for top positions, that, in fact, act particularly against women, since they allow the past employment situation to affect the new selection. I use a statistical argument to show that without preferential treatment towards women, they will not overcome structural obstacles that prevent them from getting top positions. I also use the same argument to show that affirmative action at present contributes to equality of opportunity in the future
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DOI 10.5840/pcw200714116
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