Affirmative action in women's employment: Lessons from Canada

Busby, N. (2006) Affirmative action in women's employment: Lessons from Canada. Journal of Law and Society, 33(1), pp. 42-58. (doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2006.00346.x)

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The use of affirmative action to increase women's representation in employment is recognized under European Community law. The European Court of Justice has identified affirmative action permissible under EC law and what constitutes reverse discrimination, deemed incompatible with the equal treatment principle. Despite these developments, gendered occupational segregation — vertical and horizontal — persists in all member states as evidenced by enduring pay gaps. It is widely argued that we now need national measures which take advantage of the appropriate framework and requisite political will which exists at the European level. Faced with a similar challenge, the Canadian government passed the Employment Equity Act 1986 which places an obligation on federal employers to implement employment equity (affirmative action) by proactive means. Although subject to some criticism, there have been some improvements in women's representation since its introduction. This article assesses what lessons might be learned from Canada's experience.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Affirmative Action Special Edition
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Busby, Professor Nicole
Authors: Busby, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Journal of Law and Society
ISSN (Online):1467-6478
Published Online:07 February 2006

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