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Are Set Aside and Inclusion Programs Really AssistingResearch Paper

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Black Women in Male Industries --

Black Women in White Male Dominant Industries:

Are Set-Aside and Inclusion Programs Really Assisting?

Martin and Barnard (2013) state that those women working in areas that are male-dominated have different problems from those in female-dominated areas and those balanced in gender. The problems are as result of customs of inequality in gender, and the values within families and the community. The male gender is still considered senior to the female gender in families, and traditionally, in spite of the efforts made to empower females and to bring about equality in gender. The traditional beliefs on gender roles are also in company rules and practices. Women are given degraded tasks and are subjected to an organizational culture with gender discrimination.

According to the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (2015) it has been more than half a century since the U.S. began to fight for equality, both as a result and as a freedom. It has been quite successful as seen in the large number of people of color and females in the government, Academy and the private sector. It has, however, also had a number of problems, both legal and rhetorical, which increase in some presidential administrations and fade in some. These issues, among others, were the reason for affirmative action.

Affirmative Action

This is a term used to describe any step taken beyond merely terminating a biased act, to compensate for, or correct present or past biased acts, or to stop any future bias from taking place. Affirmative action is defined differently, based on the department, whether at work, in government contracts or in school. According to The Executive Order along with its policies, affirmative action is defined as a process which requires that a government contractor analyzes and examines the total range of the practices of its staff in order to find and correct any obstacles for equality in job opportunities. The contractor has to create a program for correcting the identified problems. The contractor should also, where necessary, come up with logical objectives to rate the success level of achieving the required result (American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, 2015).

The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (2015) also stated that these programs involve a lot more than just recruitment and outreach. It is a tool for fighting discrimination through elimination of obstacles for equality in job opportunities. The Executive Order shows how discrimination and affirmative action are inversely related. It starts with prohibiting discrimination. Affirmative action essentially sets a good environment for equality in job opportunities.

Due to the mandate that affirmative action has in the litigation on employment bias, it also includes compensation, and works to correct the results of previous bias. Hence, affirmative action can be defined as taking positive measures to eliminate bias, eliminate chances of its recurrence and give back those opportunities, which women and minorities had been deprived of in the past (American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, 2015).

According to The West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2005), this notion was foreseen around the same time as the Era of Reconstruction, right after the civil war in the U.S. After the conflict, the past population of slaves all through the South had nothing in their possession, but little skill which helped them earn a living. General William T. Sherman came up with an idea to assist the newly liberated citizens live within the minimum financial base. He suggested that the goods and land from those huge plantations under his order, in southeastern Georgia should be divided. The families with people of color would then be given a mule and 40 acres of that land. This suggestion was faced by strong opposition by politicians, and it was not broadly adopted.

After about 100 years, the idea to help whole individual classes in accessing the goods of life in the United States came back in the law and society of the U.S. by means of a chain of decisions by the courts, along with the political initiatives for interpretation of the guarantees of civil freedoms, as per the clause on equal protection found in the 14th amendment. The initiatives and court decisions are what were later called affirmative action (West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2005).

According to the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (2015), affirmative action faces a lot of criticism. It is said to involve preferential treatment, reverse discrimination, defying the merit principles and stigmatization of beneficiaries. There have been initiatives by voters from some states including Arizona, Washington, Michigan, California and Nebraska, against affirmative action, with the help of these companies. It is however important to note that preferential treatment, guaranteed results and quotas are not part of affirmative action.

Set-Aside and Inclusion Programs

According to Kranjc (1990), the set-aside programs for minorities are an affirmative action strategy that is contentious. Set-asides had been introduced by a number of governmental agencies to help eliminate the results of previous acts of bias in the process of government contracting.

The government has a great chance for promoting equality in economic opportunities, and for prevention of marketplace bias, through procurement. The state, local and federal governments in the country have, in the past few decades, come up with programs meant to increase the value and number of contracts by the government, which are given to women-owned business enterprises and MBEs ( Minority-owned business enterprises) (Office of the State Comptroller, 2010).

There have been many programs developed through the whole federal government, meant to increase contracts with women and minority-owned business enterprises, along with procurement. The greatest among these initiatives, are the programs used throughout the government under the supervision of SBA (Small Business Administration). At times, agency-specific measures are used to assist those programs. Under these whole programs, a number of contracts for procurement are preserved for the purpose of sheltered or sole-source or sheltered rivalry contracting, whose eligibility is meant for minority-owned businesses, or women-owned business that are non-minority. It is however more widely availed by parliament, to the economically and socially unprivileged. In addition, there is a wide, sheltered, racially unbiased competition or generally set-aside for little businesses. This is distinct and less considered than those initiatives that are targeted more. However, we still have more than 93% of procurement with those companies that are non-minority (White House, 1999).

According to Chatterji, Chay and Fairlie (2013), from the early 70s, there are hundreds of billion dollars which have been used on programs to set aside or create percentage goals for contracts by government, for subcontractors or companies owned by the minority. There are $28.2 billion contracts of federal procurement which were given to the less privileged to businesses in 2008 only. This makes 6.3% of the overall value of all the awarded federal contracts. The total amount that was used on contracting programs for affirmative action, for those companies owned by the minority dwarfs that amount used on implementing affirmative action on work places and those acts against discrimination by the central government, such as The Civil Rights Act and Executive Order 11246 of 1964 (Title VII). There was a considerable growth rate, especially in the 1980's, in the cost of contracts for city governments that were meant for MBEs. It was said that the set-aside programs were meant for establishment of minority-owned businesses, correct the consequences of previous bias and lower the high level of unemployment among the urban minorities in the 80s.

Small businesses create the most opportunities for technical innovation and employment in the U.S. Therefore, the president and Congress have expressed much interest in motivating the health and development of small enterprises through the whole American economy. Among the simplest methods for the government to nurture and motivate small enterprises is the use of federal contracts. According to the 1953 Small Business Act, small enterprises need to get an equitable share of contracts by the federal government, and that those small enterprises must possess the most possible practical opportunity for participation in contracting with the central government (McVay, 2009).

Furthermore, McVay (2009) states that the set-aside for small enterprises is the highest used socioeconomic program. It "sets aside," or regulates contracts that are specifically meant for participating in small businesses. The only enterprises that are said to be small are those which do not go beyond the recommended size limit for the acquired service or supply. They are the only ones allowed to propose or bid on set-asides for small businesses. Those offerors or bidders who go beyond the allowed size limit for some set-aside for a small business are described as nonresponsive. They proposals or bids are not approved.

There were other programs developed to increase the reach to economic opportunities for the minority, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses. The programs include Veterans Business Program, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program and Business Enterprise Program (BEP) (Tollway, 2016).

The program for DBE is meant to correct present or past prejudice against DBEs, create a level ground and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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