From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
1. a policy of making active efforts to improve the employment or educational opportunities available to members of minority groups or women; -- achieved by employers or schools by using various techniques, but excluding the use of simple quotas or outright discrimination against white males.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
1: a policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities; "affirmative action has been extremely controversial and was challenged in 1978 in the Bakke decision"
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