Affirmative Action in the Employment of Ethnic Minorities and Persons with Disabilities

International Labour Review, Autumn 1997 | Go to article overview

Affirmative Action in the Employment of Ethnic Minorities and Persons with Disabilities


Affirmative action in the employment of ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. Edited by Jane Hodges-Aeberhard and Carl Raskin. Geneva, 1997. ix + 115 pp. Foreword, bibliography. 20 Swiss francs. ISBN 92-2-109521-5.

Affirmative action in employment has recently attracted a lot of attention in relation to discrimination based on sex or racial origin in the United States and Europe. The discussion in academic and media circles has highlighted the fact that affirmative action to eliminate sexbased discrimination has been in place for a considerable time in many countries. The focus of this book is affirmative action in employment of ethnic minorities and people with disabilities in a number of countries less often mentioned in this connection: Canada, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Norway, the Philippines, the Russian Federation and Uganda.

The country reports presented in this volume describe current trends in the implementation of affirmative action in employment for both these groups, whether by legislative enactments, general policy measures, voluntary programmes, or a mixture of these elements. Attention is given to which approaches have worked best in the particular national circumstances and to the pitfalls which have come to light. The controversy surrounding the concept of affirmative action, namely that it constitutes reverse discrimination, surfaces in these case-studies too. In Canada, for example, the quandary of viewing equality as "sameness" has been alleviated by treating people as equals by accommodating their differences; on the other hand, the Malaysian and Indian experiences point to resentment felt by groups not benefiting from such measures. …

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