During the last week, I’ve received many comments about my first entry (which I love, btw); however, there was one that caught my attention. It said that sometimes feminism, instead of promoting equality, it just leads to a positive discrimination, which is as bad as the regular one. I didn’t know what to answer. As a matter of fact, I’ve been questioning myself about how the actions taken to promote equality have just created other type of differences. These are my conclusions.
Affirmative Action, sometimes understood as a positive discrimination, is used to refer to ‘special measures’ which aim to foster greater equality by supporting groups of people who face, or have faced, entrenched discrimination so they can have similar access to opportunities as others in the community (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/quick-guide/12078). It was first used by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to ensure employees were well treated during their employment, without regard towards their race, creed, color, or national origin. In other words, it is used to create awareness within a society and to empower the discriminated minorities to take the lead and do something to change their current reality.
Some actions taken in the name of positive discrimination are, for example, the implementation of quotas in the workplace, programs and certifications that just target women, amongst others. Due to these actions, nowadays we find more women in the labor force but, is it truly equality? Let’s start from the bottom.
Talking about women (especially white women), Affirmative Action has been disproportionately beneficial according to HuffPo., promoting their presence in universities, politics, managing boards and some others. Actually, we have to thank Possitive Discrimination the fact that, as women, we can now vote, study, work, wear troussers, and basically, be free; however, once in a while society does evolve, and these beneficial actions tend to now discriminate other groups.
Of course there are a lot of mixed feelings towards Affirmative Action, and most of the critics go against the most benefited group, which is also the one who opposes the “movement” the most: white women, but in fact, they are not nuts. I have been personally benefited by the actions taken in the name of Positive Discrimination, and I still find it quite offensive to be hired for a job just because they need to cover a minimum quota of females. We can call that “fairness”, “justice”, even “revenge”, but surely not “equality”.
Besides, some other people believe that we have already achieved gender equality and they are promoting to disappear the Affirmative Actions (like Mr. Donald Trump), as they do not consider necessary to take further steps to improve gender rights. Dear reader, do you really believe we are already there, that we live in an equal society? Let’s give an example; think about two identical resumes: same education, achievements, capabilities, nationality, etc., and both are applying for the same position in finance. The only difference is that one has the name of a woman and the other, of a man. Without affirmative action, it is more likely that the man is going to get hired, as he has more chances than the women; however, with affirmative action -and the famous quotas- it is the other way around, and, as I see it, earning points for being male or female is completely wrong.
Am I against affirmative action? No. Do I promote the patriarchy? Certainly not. The point is that either positive or not, it is still discrimination and the only way to stop it is by not thinking about gender as a qualification.