What Is Protective Discrimination?


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Protective discrimination is the policy of granting special privileges to the downtrodden and the underprivileged sections of society, most commonly women. These are affirmative action programs, most visible in both the United States and India, where there has been a history of racial and caste discrimination. The practice is most prominent in India, where it has been enshrined in the constitution and institutionalised.

Reservation policies, which are the essence of protective discrimination, have been the subject of controversy and heated debate wherever they have been implemented. Various schemes of the kind, for reverse discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, or geographical location have been enforced in many developed and developing countries. These policies have evolved as a response to certain socio-political problems, peculiar to that particular region, originating from the persistent disparities and the region's history of discrimination and marginalization. Generally women have been the victims of discrimination and while in the US it was the Afro-American community that suffered historically, in India it was the lower castes and tribals.

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