Policy Factsheet

Anti-Discrimination and Diversity Policies

Reasons for Policy

  • In 2008, among private industry in the U.S., women constituted 29% of executive or senior level managerial positions (Women constituted 48% of total employment in 2008).1
  • In 2008, among private industry in the U.S., minorities constituted 12% of executive or senior level managerial positions (Minorities constituted 34% of total employment in 2008).1
  • Although racial/ethnic minority women remain a relatively small percentage of all officials and managers, between 1990 and 2001 their rates of employment in these positions increased, ranging from 75% for African American women to 135% for Asian women.2
  • However, the exclusion of women from management positions is more severe for racial/ethnic minority women.2
  • Inequality at work may be rooted in managerial bias and the social isolation of women and racial/ethnic minorities.3

Community Groups

  • Businesses
  • Local Businesses
  • Local Government
  • State Government

Policy Components

  • Organizational responsibility practices
  • Affirmative action plans
  • Diversity staff
  • Diversity task force/committee

Desired Outcomes

  • Increase diversity in the workplace
  • Increase diversity in private section management
  • Increase employment of racial/ethnic minorities and women
  • Establish responsibility for diversity

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 2: Policies with Consistent Evidence from High-Quality Observational Studies.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

The following summary of achievable results is based on a published review of the scientific evidence.

On average, a diversity committee can achieve:

  • 19% increase in odds that a white woman is in a managerial position.3
  • 27% increase in odds that an African American woman is in a managerial position.3
  • 12% increase in odds that an African American man is in a managerial position.3

On average, appointing full-time diversity staff can achieve:

  • 11% increase in odds that a white woman is in a managerial position.3
  • 13% increase in odds that an African American woman is in a managerial position.3
  • 14% increase in odds that an African American man is in a managerial position.3

Affirmative action plans, diversity committees and taskforces, diversity managers and departments are the most effective means of increasing the proportions of white women, African American women and African American men in private sector management.3

Community Examples

Connecticut State University System has an affirmative action plan and an affirmative action officer to advance social justice and equity.

Torrance, California, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is committed to maintaining a diverse workforce through its affirmative action and non-discrimination policies.

Links to Policy Examples

Connecticut, C.G.S. § 10a-10, Office of Educational Opportunity

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Affirmative Action Policy Statement

Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding potential existing laws that may impede any new policy development.

Local governments and organizations may check existing state and federal statutes and administrative codes for the authority to implement local policies.

References

1 The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2008). Job Patterns For Minorities and Women in Private Industry. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/employment/jobpat-eeo1/index.cfm.

2 The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2003). Women of Color: Their Employment in the Private Sector. Retrieved from <a href=http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/reports/womenofcolor/index.html.Women of Color</a>

3 Kalev, A, Dobbin, F, Kelly, E (2006). Best Practices or Best Guess? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action Diversity Policies. American Sociological Review, 71, 589-617.

4 Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.