It is generally believed that everyone should be given a fair and reasonable chance to perform a task or job without prejudice of race, sex, religion, or handicap. Thus, the concept of equal opportunity evolved in an effort to eliminate discrimination in the process of selecting persons or parties for any position.
The purpose of instituting equal opportunity is due to the many examples in history wherein a person or group of people were prevented from doing certain actions, behaving in a certain manner, or being treated unfairly and unreasonably due to their skin color, nationality, religious preference, and so forth. For example, some people were excluded from living in a certain area or neighborhood because of their ethnicity. Another example involves women not being given job opportunities because they were female. Evolved, modern societies reject such ideas or notions of restrictions as these are inappropriate. It has been established that a person should be given a position only when he or she is proven capable to handle the position, and under no other basis or prejudice.
However, it is difficult to completely eliminate the idea of discrimination. Some people still continue to hold on to such values and ideas. In order to ensure that no person would become a victim to this belief system, the policy of equal opportunity was established. This policy, or law as it may be the case, existed to help ethnic minorities, handicapped people, homosexuals, and others to be considered on the basis of their capabilities alone. Equal opportunity ensures that factors related to such categorization would not be considered in a person or entity making a decision.