Women and Minorities Shut-Out from Public Contracts

A Los Angeles Times review of California found that women and minorities receive a very small percentage of public contracts. Even though women represent one-half of state citizens, they received a mere six percent of three-billion in contracts in 1993-94. And, minorities, who make up one-third of the state’s population, received only nine percent in contracts during the same time period. The reported percentages may actually be too high because the tally apparently omitted one-billion dollar s in awards. In the final analysis, white men continue to receive a highly disproportionate number of the state’s public contracts.

The study also found that government agencies fail to adequately monitor affirmative action practices. Last year, state audits of seven hundred contracts found that nearly one-third of them involved fronts or other practices used to subvert affirmativ e action. Fronts entail white male business owners claiming that women or minorities own their businesses. Of the numbers, Senator Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) commented that women and minorities receive, “…crumbs. Absolutely crumbs.”


Associated Press, September 12, 1995

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