"From status to contract" was Sir Henry Maine's description of the rise of a merit-based society in which aristocratic privilege was eliminated and equality under the law instituted. This revolution has now been overthrown, and we as a society have moved back to status as determined by race and gender. If you are a member of an "under-represented" race or gender, you enjoy "diversity status" and preference in hiring and promotion just as aristocrats did in the hierarchy of social class.
The new status-based society is everywhere one looks. For example, the accounting firm, Price-Waterhouse, describes itself as "a culture of belonging." "Unwavering determination and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion" has achieved a Price-Waterhouse board that is 40% female and 40% racially/ethnically diverse. Price-Waterhouse's aspirational goals for 2026 are a 50% increase in the firm's black and Hispanic/Latinx workforce, a 50% increase in women, and to have 40% of its suppliers "certified diverse."