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Affirmative Action Definition

Affirmative action can be defined as any policy that seeks to benefit an underrepresented group. The word group here is used to stand for either a certain race, religion, color, sex or even a national origin (Gollands,2008). Affirmative action basically aims at reversing the effects of discrimination. Affirmative action policies are made to increase the participation of women and minorities in the society in fields related to employment, business and education. Affirmative action clearly reverses discrimination in many countries which adopt and implement these policies (Gollands,2008).

Affirmative Action Plan and Gender Discrimination in Kenya

A case in point is Kenya. According to the constitution of this country, employment in public sector should comprise of more than 30% representation of women. Before this clause was enshrined in the constitution, this country epitomized one of the worst forms of gender discrimination with women taking up less than 5% of the total public jobs (Garuiya, 2010). Since this affirmative action plan was developed, the total employment of women in the public sector has greatly improved. Latest statistics have put it at about 28% which is very close to the targeted 30%. An evidence of the effectiveness of this plan is witnessed in the number of women leading public universities. Before this plan, the country had never had any single woman vice chancellor heading its public universities (Garuiya, 2010). Presently, two its public universities are headed by women vice- chancellors. These are: Kenyatta university and Jomo-kenyatta university of agriculture and technology.

Kenya’s affirmative action plan also focuses on the minority groups. These include the minority tribes occupying the country’s Northern region. Before this plan, the residents of this region had been completely neglected as far as Educational and infrastructural development is concerned (Garuiya, 2010). For instance, the number of students admitted to public universities from this region were negligible. The plan proposed lower admission points for students from the region in order to increase their participation in university education. The country also appointed a cabinet minister for the region to ensure infrastructural development (Garuiya, 2010).


The criteria of comparable worth argues that people should be given an equal remuneration for jobs that require the same abilities, skills and knowledge irrespective of their age, sex, race, color or any other difference (Shaw, 1999). This criteria clearly promotes equity hence reverses discrimination in the work place. The criteria is in line with my moral philosophy of utilitarianism which requires that the moral worth of an action should be gauged by evaluating its ability to maximize positive utility while at the same time minimizing negative utility. This shows that, to determine the worth of an action, one should simply look at the results it produces (Shaw, 1999). We say that an action has utility if it gives a useful outcome. The criteria of comparable worth is therefore utilitarian since its outcome, which is ensuring lack of discrimination in the work place is useful.

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