Reverse discrimination entails the unequal treatment and bias of members of the dominant or advantaged party. Discrimination against majority groups is mostly the product of preferential measures introduced by the legislator to discourage discrimination against minority groups. Discrimination refers to a person’s biased attitude toward disability, race, gender and religion. Historically, the majority was favoured by jobs and social practices, while minority groups were the object of prejudice. Areas where this inequality is rampant include education, employment industries, hospitals and some others (Hollander, 148). For instance, most colleges have a higher number of white students as opposed to Aboriginal students while many organizations only employed women for certain positions. On the other hand, reverse discrimination is the unfair treatment of the majority groups such as males, whites or people of a given age. In Australia, discrimination of any manner whether reverse or otherwise is illegal but cases of reverse discrimination are complex since the laws that govern the affirmative action are in instability.
Reverse Discrimination in Australia
For decades, certain groups have led a charge against discriminatory actions such as intolerance and inequality towards minority groups who have suffered preconceptions due to their sexual orientation, race, sex and age. Such groups who have opposed the discrimination including lesbian communities as well as the Women’s Liberation Movement have led to the emergence of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1995 and 2010 along with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (Daly, 227). The persecuted groups such as the minority have endorsed the initiation of such laws. Although, reverse discrimination is a controversial term and practice, it exists in Australia and gradually develops into a liberty that is legally recognized. The policy of affirmative action was enacted to create equal opportunities for women in the workplace, especially in the government positions. Though the system sounds great, the concern is that a certain percentage of the employees are prescribed to be women. It has resulted in various issues since qualified and experienced men are overlooked for certain positions exclusively set aside for females regardless of their qualifications. The real problem arises in the field of engineering where few women apply for the jobs to meet the quota of the affirmative action, so they remain vacant and unfulfilled.
The human resource (HR) positions is another area where reverse discrimination is evident. The profession has paved the way for diversity in gender making the senior managerial roles to be more appealing to women. Across the 50 top companies in Australia, 75% of the HR managers are female. The Global HR Survey reflected a similar percentage after interviewing about 3500 Human Resource professionals globally. According to the inquiry, 70% of the respondents in Australia were women comparing to 62% worldwide (“Opinion: HR’s Reverse Discrimination Challenge”). The women holding senior HR positions are an inspiration to the young female joining the workforce. Interestingly, other organizational units lack the same number of women role models as HR. The debate on diversity in many organizations has moved beyond the issues of gender. The fact that the HR position is more common among female leaders than other functions is a gender issue that should be addressed. The HR unit can impact any organization positively or negatively. As opposed to a one-dimensional workforce, a diverse workforce offers more potential for both growth and opportunity. Currently, men are pursuing different career paths due to the gender bias that exists across organizational units.
Another issue relates to the Australian Aboriginals who were discriminated in the past and are currently entitled to the positions held by the Caucasian people. In the contemporary Australian society, the Aboriginals are benefiting from more privileges than the middle-class whites are (Hollander, 156). Further, they are eligible for specialized treatment and medicine, free housing, education including higher education and various subsidies. However, the primary concern is that such benefits are given to the white Aborigines living in middle-class suburban areas while the native Aboriginals continue residing in the bush and are refused to live in public housing estates. The Australian government is making a lot of efforts to change the lives of the Aboriginals to become more like that of the whites without taking into consideration other races.
Cases of reverse discrimination are hard to prove comparing to other discriminatory cases. Historically, laws and policies in Australia have protected the minority groups especially the Australian Aboriginals against unfair treatment. Reverse discrimination is an issue in Australia evident in employment. Other typical examples are the bias of the Caucasian individuals for an Aborigine or any other minority group. The Anglo-Australians feel they are discriminated upon due to the affirmative action that supports the Australian Aboriginals who acquire job positions based on their race by means of excluding other qualified people. Whether the Australians deny it or not, reverse discrimination is an issue that will soon be a menace if not properly addressed.
Daly, Anne, Tesfaye Gebremedhin, & Sayem Muhammad. “A case study of affirmative action Australian-style for Indigenous people.” Australian Journal of Labour Economics 16.2, 2013, 277.
Hollander, Paul. “Peer review, political correctness, and human nature.” Academic Questions 26.2 (2013), 148-156.
“Opinion: HR’s Reverse Discrimination Challenge.” HR Online. N.P., n.d. Web. 20 Mar., 2017.