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Affirmative action in Libraries

Affirmative action in libraries is primarily focused on the problem of gender inequality, although institutionalized racism is a problem, as well. Libraries are "women's ghettos." Men fill most of the key administrative posts in libraries, even though the members of the work force are mostly women. Women in libraries are substantially underpaid relative to men. The avowed purpose of affirmative action programs is to address such inequalities, but the lack of gender parity in libraries has persisted through nearly twenty years of affirmative action programs.

It is possible that the ineffectiveness of affirmative action in libraries and elsewhere is bound up with the history of such programs and with public attitudes toward them. Americans have never been convinced that providing "preferential treatment" to certain classes of individuals is the proper way to remedy inequities in education and employment. In fact, the vast majority of Americans oppose the concept of affirmative action if it means setting aside jobs especially for women and members of minority groups. Nevertheless, the Courts, the Congress and, to varying extents, the Executive have all adopted affirmative action, in some form, as the best method for resolving the historical problems of discrimination in employment. Unfortunately, such programs have not worked any better in libraries than they have in other areas of society.

The purpose of affirmative action is to remedy the problems that have arisen because of generations of discrimination against women and members of minority groups. Affirmative action programs attempt to institute selective "preferential treatment" as a way of eliminating conditions in the workplace and elsewhere that systematically injure minorities. A large part of the process of reversing discrimination involves the reform of employment testing, because various types of tests have typically included cultural biases that discriminate...

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Affirmative action in Libraries. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:00, August 15, 2020, from