the aggregation of policies and practices in employment and other areas that do not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, color, age, sex, national origin, religion, or mental or physical disability.

The goal of giving all persons an equal chance to an education and employment, and to protect their civil rights, regardless of their race, religious beliefs, or gender. In the United States, various minority groups have been fighting for equal opportunity over the last 150 years. (See affirmative action, civil rights movement, equal protection of the laws, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Organization for Women, segregation, sexism, suffragist, and women’s movement.)


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  • Equal pay

    noun 1. the right of a man or woman to receive the same pay as a person of the opposite sex doing the same or similar work for the same or a similar employer

  • Equal protection of the laws

    A phrase in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution requiring that states guarantee the same rights, privileges, and protections to all citizens. This doctrine reinforces that of due process of law and prevents states from passing or enforcing laws that arbitrarily discriminate against anyone.

  • Equal-rights-amendment

    noun 1. (def 3). Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) A twice-proposed but never ratified amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit denial or abridgement of rights on the basis of sex. First proposed in 1923, the amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 but failed ratification by the requisite number of states. It was a major […]

  • Equals

    [ee-kwuh l] /ˈi kwəl/ adjective 1. as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with): The velocity of sound is not equal to that of light. 2. like or alike in quantity, degree, value, etc.; of the same rank, ability, merit, etc.: two students of equal brilliance. 3. evenly proportioned or balanced: […]

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