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For the history and implementation of affirmative action in the U.S., see Affirmative action in the United States.
Affirmative action , known as positive discrimination in the United Kingdom , refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin" [1] into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group "in areas of employment, education, and business". [2]

Origins
The term "affirmative action" was first used in the United States in Executive Order 10925 and was signed by President John F.
Kennedy on 6 March 1961; it was used to promote actions that achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Executive Order 11246 which required government
employers to take "affirmative action" to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. In 1967, gender was added to the anti-discrimination list. [3] Comparable procedures in other countries are also known as reservation in India, positive

discrimination in the United Kingdom , and employment equity in Canada.
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Purpose
Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined groups within a society. It is often instituted in government and educational settings to ensure that minority groups within a society are included in all programs. The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is that it helps to compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture, [4] and to address existing discrimination. [5] The implementation of affirmative action, especially in the United States, is considered by its proponents to be justified by disparate impact . ↑Jump back a section

Quotas
Law regarding quotas and affirmative action varies widely from nation to nation. Caste based quotas are used in Reservation in India. However, they are illegal in the United States, where no employer, university, or other entity may...
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