In today’s world people are very busy looking for a living. Every people are preoccupied with their own business to mind. Everyone seems like very busy that they tend to be not aware with the things that are happening around them. People through the years have changed into something that is far from what the people before have imagined. The world is now described as a global world where the communication between people is just a click away. Everyone now can communicate even if they are miles apart. Distance is not a factor anymore for one can be in a place technologically through various forms of computer-mediated communication.
The world has changed. But the changes that have happened have different effects to people, because people are different from one another. These differences can be seen in the form of gender or sex, race, ethnicity, color, and the like. These differences are what separate one from another. Through these differences, people can be classified and can be known based on some of their distinction. For example, you would know a person if he or she is American, French, Filipino, British among others. It is innate characteristic of the world that its inhabitants are different.
Because all of us are separated by geographical locations, time, and space. We are all different but we are one. We are all one and the same in terms of our being human. We all feel happiness, sorrow, heartaches, failure, and success. We are all under the same sky no matter how far we are from one another. We all have the capability to love and be loved. We weep, we laugh. We all exist, we are all humans regardless of the differences we have. This is the main point why we all have the right, right to live, right to be respected, right to be us.
But in today’s case, the rights that we all have are not equally distributed moreover it is not equally given to all people. Stratification in every society is so prevalent that one’s status became the primary basis of how the rights and opportunities will be given to us. Our economic status dictates our social status. Thus making the underprivileged unfortunate, they are the ones who are always the under dog, they are the ones who are always under the scrutiny of those privileged. As I have mentioned earlier we are all different in sex, in race, and in culture.
It should not be a matter because there is such thing as peaceful co-existence. But what is happening today is far from what the concept truly means. The barrier of people in becoming one is either their gender or their origin. There are many cases that because of these factors people are not given enough opportunity to participate in whatever they want to get involvement. People became divided because of the unfair allocation of opportunity. It is a word that could mean a thousand words. Opportunity is not just about the opportunity to live or to breathe. There are other factors that should be considered when talking about opportunity.
Most importantly and what seems to be the issue that is facing almost every society today is equal opportunity. Opportunity should be equally given to all people given he or she has the qualification and capability and regardless of his or her gender, culture, and point of origin. People should have their fair share of opportunity in everything, like education, work, and involvement in their community and country. But this seems to be very hard to achieve because of the stratification that is existing in every society, equal opportunity is something that is far from our reach as of now.
Equal opportunity has different definition depending on the context of its usage. It is a term used to describe an approach with the intentions of providing a specific social environment whereas people are active participants of any social activities like education, work, and health care. (Wikipedia, 2007) On the other hand, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000 defined it as the absence of any from of discrimination, for example is in the workplace. Equal opportunity could also mean verbatim without having to do with one’s race, gender, or ethnicity. But through the years, it is corrupted and given new meaning.
It became equated to the fact that the specified racial and sexual categories the government had set are being met. Its definition lies in the quotas which are considered illegal. (Yahoo Education, 2007) There is also an equal opportunity practice wherein in any given organization practices fairness in the process of employment. There is also an equal opportunity employer where he or she do not discriminate any applicants or employees because of their background. Equal opportunity can be a social theory wherein in the search of meritocracy it is important. It is known separate from freedom.
To clearly explain this, the Freedom of Speech is not under equal opportunity but rather human rights. When we say equal opportunity it means that everyone has a fair share of access in workplace, housing programs, and education that can not be changed or altered just because a person has different race or he or she has disability. The access for government services is fair as well and every one has the equal chance of getting it. But equal opportunity is such a complicated concept because one can not really measure it thus any policy regarding equal opportunity is hard to determine whether it is successful or not.
This is the main reason why for some instances the operational definition of equal opportunity is it exists when two people having the same qualifications and abilities get equal amount of outcome which can manifest in their salary. But there is a flaw in this operational definition. There are cases when there is no definite answer to what will happen to two persons in the future when they both have the same qualifications and abilities but they came from different family. One is characterized by wealth while the other is characterized by poverty.
Aside from these, equal opportunity is facing a lot of criticisms. According to Milton Friedman, this is about getting equal results. In his work entitled ‘Free to Choose’, he argued that because of equal opportunity, people who are far better than others are barred from doing the things that they could have done because of practicing equal opportunity. Because it aims to get the same result, most people tend to do what they ought to do, nothing more, and nothing less. Sacrificing the spontaneity of things and thinking of new ideas that could have been considered a milestone.
On the other hand, Adam Smith said that in a free market, people are having a hard time to sell his products even if they think that it is better than others. It is because of the fear that they might be accused of equal opportunity rights. Equal Opportunity entails a lot of things including that legal reproach should be given to know people who are prejudiced. But in the absence of equal opportunity activists who are aiming for the equality in society are being punished.
It also somehow paralyzes the economic growth of a certain country because it hinders the people to develop something new and get out from their comfort zone to venture on new things that would later on prosper their well-being. This is why equal opportunity can be damaging at times. Another criticism to equal opportunity is that its ideal is contradicting. Yes it is wrong not to hire a person because of his or her gender, race, religion, affiliation and the like, but it is all wrong to hire them because of the same reasons.
Although equal opportunity has a lot of criticisms, the agencies, governments, and concerned groups did not stop from making the world a place where it (equal opportunity) is practiced. The advocacy of having equal opportunity to all has grown big that every country has their own legislations regarding equal opportunity. They all have the same goals of protecting the rights of every people, the assurance that every people are treated right without having the bias with who they are and who they are not.
It is really alarming that though we are living in a globalize world people are not guaranteed of a better life, we are not yet sure of what will happen to us because of our identity. It is unfair that those who are able and capable of carrying out goals were not given a chance because of the simple reason that they are women or they are coming from a minority group. I believe that in everything else, especially in the workplace meritocracy should be the base of hiring or promoting someone. It should not have the bearing to the employee’s identity given that she has all the skills.
I also do not think that exercising equal opportunity means jeopardizing the development or growth of any business or community for that matter. These may be are the reasons why the government and different agencies are still working to promote equal opportunity to all. Many years have passed and the efforts in achieving equal employment drew a huge amount of attention. There was a publication created in 1968 which aims to raise the awareness of people regarding the practice of equal opportunity. The publication is entitled Equal Opportunity Publications or EOP.
They produce career magazines focusing on women, minority groups, and the disabled. They help these groups to find a job and broaden their world when it comes to job hunting. They also help different agencies and companies in hiring and maintaining a diverse labor force. The concept of equal opportunity is often connected to egalitarian and social justice. Is there really a difference between them? As mentioned earlier, equal opportunity is just a term to describe an environment which does not exclude people from having access to his needs like education, jobs, and healthcare.
Equal opportunity to all means everyone gains access to his needs regardless of race, gender, culture, etc. Egalitarianism, on the other hand, is like a doctrine or a moral principle that states all people should be equal. The main point of this does not only rest on opportunities alone just like the concept of equal opportunities. It also carries the belief that value should be divided evenly. Social justice, however, carries the idea of a just society. This does not only refer to laws but giving individuals fair treatment and just share of the benefits of society.
The concept of social justice is more of the idea of being equitable rather than being equal. Empowerment is also an issue that always comes along equality and equal opportunities. Empowerment is actually a process that a certain group of people undergo whenever they increase their capacity to make choices and do their actions to create their own outcomes. These actions can create assets which can increase the efficiency of the individual resulting to greater opportunities for him/ her. In short, an empowered person will have more freedom to choose resulting to greater hold on their life and greater influence in their own decisions.
One kind of empowerment is economic empowerment for the disabled. Disability is usually related to the negative cycle of poverty, ignorance, vulnerability, disability and exclusion. Poverty is one of the causes of disability but most people do not consider it as an effect also. Because of disability, disabled people experience social and economic exclusion which does not only affect the person alone but also his family (relying only on family members). As known by most people, disability prevents people from getting a job because of incapability.
Of course, there are also issues of discrimination and exclusion from education. There are a lot of factors that prevent disabled people from employment opportunities. These are the reasons why economic empowerment for disabled people is done. Economic empowerment increases the opportunities of disabled people not only in getting a job but also in getting access to different privileges, thus increasing their efficiency and individuality. They can have access to formal and informal information which is a big step to employment opportunities.
They can also participate in income generating activities fro them to be efficient. There British legislations regarding empowerment. There are actually some organizations that empower the disabled and other under privileged individuals. In fact, there exists a British Institute for Learning disabilities wherein they work with the British government and provide services that empowers people with learning disabilities in the process. There are also laws concerning empowerment just like the Education Empowerment Act. There are also legislations about women empowerment of different religions (e. g. Islamic) in Britain.