How do societies achieve cohesion in countries where the population is formed of different racial and ethnic groups? Although the debate continues, one constant is the agreement on the need for equality for all citizens of such societies. These egalitarian principles are believed by many to underpin a stable and just society. The question then arises of how best to achieve this equality? This book looks at the policy of affirmative action as it has evolved in different parts of the world: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the United States. The detailed juxtaposition of country case-studies allows readers to make comparisons and highlight disparities. Although affirmative action has operated in favour of various segments of the population, this book concentrates on the policy with regard to racial/ethnic groups. It explores the origin of the concept: where and how the policy emerged and what form it has taken, in order to open up the debate on this highly sensitive area of social policy.