Equal opportunity is a stipulation that all people should be treated similarly, unhampered by artificial barriers or prejudices or preferences, except when particular “distinctions can be explicitly justified.” The aim according to this often "complex and contested concept" is that important jobs should go to those “most qualified” – persons most likely to perform ably in a given task – and not go to persons for arbitrary or irrelevant reasons, such as circumstances of birth, upbringing, friendship ties to whoever is in power, religion, sex, ethnicity, race, caste, or “involuntary personal attributes” such as disability, age, or sexual preferences. Chances for advancement should be open to everybody interested such that they have “an equal chance to compete within the framework of goals and the structure of rules established.”
The idea is to remove arbitrariness from the selection process and base it on some “pre-agreed basis of fairness, with the assessment process being related to the type of position,” and emphasizing procedural and legal means. Individuals should succeed or fail based on their own efforts and not "extraneous circumstances" such as having well-connected parents. It is opposed to nepotism and plays a role in whether a social structure is seen as legitimate.
Famous quotes containing the words equal and/or opportunity:
“The moment a mere numerical superiority by either states or voters in this country proceeds to ignore the needs and desires of the minority, and for their own selfish purpose or advancement, hamper or oppress that minority, or debar them in any way from equal privileges and equal rightsthat moment will mark the failure of our constitutional system.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945)
“I am not describing a distant utopia, but the kind of education which must be the great urgent work of our time. By the end of this decade, unless the work is well along, our opportunity will have slipped by.”
—Lyndon Baines Johnson (19081973)