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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ They worry that the job-sharing experiment may be tokenism rather than a real attempt at change in the way working mothers are treated.
▪ A third problem with the numbers game is tokenism.
▪ Even women who try to work as feminists in psychology suffer from the ambiguities of tokenism.
▪ How, besides tokenism, do psychological and feminist concepts of the subject affect feminist efforts to correct gender imbalances among psychologists?
▪ Partly, tokenism gave the appearance of equality without its reality.
▪ Private industry, however, remained relatively immune to these decrees after the war, though tokenism flourished.
▪ Symbolic gestures and tokenism are inadequate remedies.
▪ The visit to Nyanga near Cape Town may have been tokenism, but at least it was a step in the right direction.
▪ Within this paradigm, the two main criticisms levelled at mainstream Hollywood films are tokenism and homophobia.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1962, from token (adj.) in the integration sense + -ism.


n. A policy of formally complying with efforts to achieve a goal by making small, token gestures; especially to hire a minimal number of ethnically diverse or disadvantaged people


Tokenism is the policy and practice of making a perfunctory gesture towards the inclusion of members of minority groups. The effort of including a token employee to a workforce usually is intended to create the appearance of social inclusiveness and diversity (racial, religious, sexual, etc.), and so deflect accusations of social discrimination.

Usage examples of "tokenism".

But with NSA hiring fewer than 200 full-time staffers a year between 1992 and 1996, the quota system at this late date amounted to little more than tokenism.

Natural selection had given way to a kind of reverse discrimination or tokenism.