Henderson Center for Social Justice report: Prop. 209 Impact on Women-Owned Businesses

The Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, will tomorrow issue “A Vision Fulfilled? The Impact of Proposition 209 on Equal Opportunity for Women Business Enterprises,” a new report documenting the 11-year impact of Prop. 209 on Women Business Enterprises (WBE) seeking public contracts in the state’s transportation construction industry.

California’s transportation construction industry is the source of over $2 billion in public contracts each year. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is the largest granting agency for transportation construction statewide and has tremendous capacity to increase the wealth and employment opportunities among California’s diverse population.

The Henderson Center examined the impact of Proposition 209 on businesses that were certified by Caltrans as Women Business Enterprises. The results are startling:

  • Real dollars awarded to women-owned businesses fell dramatically;
  • A significant number of women-owned companies went out of business entirely;
  • Barriers to bidding on projects rose as women were squeezed out of the “good old boy” network.

The report recommends a number of steps state agencies can take to eliminate race and gender bias in public contracting.

The research began under the direction of Monique W. Morris at the Discrimination Research Center (DRC) and continued when Morris joined HCSJ in March 2007. “A Vision Fulfilled” is the second in a series of reports on the impact of Prop 209. The first report, “Free to Compete,” examined the impact on minority businesses.

Monique Morris will be one of the panelists at “Economic Opportunity in California: The Labor and Employment Impact of Prop. 209,” a symposium on Friday, October 26, 2007, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the UCLA Faculty Center.

Established in 1999, HCSJ fosters creative scholarship that examines the law through a lens of social justice, and works in partnership with communities to provide education to the general public.

For more info: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/centers/csj/.

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