Affirmative Action and the Law analyses the practical application of affirmative action measures and their efficacy in achieving substantive equality through the lenses of the United Nations human rights machinery and the legal regime and policies implemented in China, India, Central and South America, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The product of a joint research project involving academics from the Brazil, Chile, Mexico, India, Spain and the United Kingdom, the findings identify and reflect on trends emerging from State practice across the world in eradicating structural inequality through special measures for certain designated groups.

The book seeks to provide a coherent and systematic approach to the analysis of special measures in the targeted countries. It also comprises two case-studies with in-depth insights on gender diversity on the boards of public listed companies in the UK and the European Union and the access of persons with disabilities to higher education in Brazil.

The book will be a valuable resource for students and academics in the field of human rights, law, sociology and politics. It will also provide a source of good practice for states and policy makers in the framing of responses to increased inequality at national and international level; and for civil society actors seeking to explore meaningful interaction with a highly controversial topic in society.

part Part I|35 pages

Typology of affirmative action measures

chapter 1|10 pages


ByElvira Dominguez-Redondo, Erica Howard

chapter 2|23 pages

Universalism or fragmentation

United Nations treaty bodies and affirmative actions in Latin-America, the United Kingdom, South Africa, China and India
ByElvira Dominguez-Redondo

part Part II|123 pages

Analysis of affirmative action measures

chapter 3|19 pages

Unravelling history and undermining law through politics

The erosion of diversity protection and emerging existential threats to India and China
ByJoshua Castellino, Sayantani Sen

chapter 5|36 pages

Effectiveness of affirmative action in Brazil

ByNarciso Leandro Xavier Baez

chapter 6|24 pages

The implementation process of affirmative action in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru

ByIván Obando-Camino, Gustavo Rayo-Urrutia, Alberto Olivares-Gallardo, Rodrigo Hernández-Fernandez

chapter 7|22 pages

Affirmative action in Central America

Influence of the international legislation and jurisprudence of the Inter-American system
ByAmalia Patricia Cobos Campos

part Part III|61 pages

Case studies

chapter 9|19 pages

Persons with disabilities and access to higher education in Brazil

ByIngo Wolfgang Sarlet, Gabrielle Bezerra Sales Sarlet

chapter 10|15 pages

Achieving substantive equality

Mainstreaming duties to complement affirmative action measures
ByErica Howard

chapter 11|9 pages


ByElvira Dominguez-Redondo, Erica Howard