Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: October 22, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956260 | Print ISBN: 9781412916523 | Online ISBN: 9781412956260| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander
Equal opportunity is the goal of laws, regulations, and policies attempting to ensure that similarly situated people are treated equally in virtually all aspects of life, including jobs, education, housing, public accommodations, and so forth. The United States has a long and difficult history regarding equality based on race, gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics. Women, blacks, Native Americans, Asians, Jews, gays, the differently abled, and others were variously denied the right to vote, not given equal pay for equal work, not allowed to have certain jobs, denied access to equal education, and denied access to public facilities and generally did not enjoy the same rights to pursue the same quality of life as white males. In an effort to live up to the statement in the Declaration of Independence that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ...