10 Critical Soc. Pol'y 5 (1990)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy10 and id is 1 raw text is: 






Equal opportunities policy and race equality

PETER   GIBBON



Abstract

  T74s p   r looks at the background and  content of EOPs and at the
             4behitd themMtheinzmmes the existing   literature on them
  before reportmIg some resea -iindings from a study of 'equal opportunity
  emnployers  OEsconducted   in Sheeld  in 19  Finally, it examines the
  pa&/   ipd ficton of a critdviw  of EOPtand  sdjgestra' new strategy
  twad  dhemk for esp' onsible f ntersta boies-d The paper, is, wrten fm
  the perspective of how to promote equalty of employmen outcomes, i
  equitablesharesofemplaoymtforcurrentlydisadvantaged  groups, within
  ,the constrain ofBritish law

EOPS  - BACKGROUND, CONTENT AND ASSUMPTIONS
'Equal opportunities policies' (EOPs) have been in fashion with a variety of
institutional and business interests in the UK for most of the 1980s. In essence
they amount  to selling rationalised bureaucratic methods of selection and
recruitment to capitalist enterprises and to disadvantaged groups in terms of
their benefits to both sets of interests.
  In the first instance it is useful to distinguish between factors involved in the
promotion of EOPs and factors involved in their adoption.
  The  promotion of EOPs in Britain may be seen as the product of coin-
cidence of a number of trends. Firstly, and most significantly there is the
increasing scale and volume of organised and semi-organised protest by
groups excluded from or disadvantaged in the labour market. Most notable
here has been protest and campaigning by black people (exemplarised by the
uprisings of the early 1980s) and by women. Protest and campaigning by the
disabled, gays and lesbians and people on Economic League lists have also
been increasingly evident. Secondly, there is the preference of Conservative
governments  since 1979 for voluntaristic and business-led 'solutions' to
problems of disadvantage, rather than compulsory and state-led ones. This is
reflected positively in the ideology of 'active citizenship' and negatively in
general governmental disparagement and undermining of the set of legal and
institutional instruments for dealing with disadvantage established by Labour
governments in the 1960s and 1970s. Thirdly, there are efforts by the Commis-
sion for Racial Equality (CRE) and Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)


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