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U.S. Government Agencies Guilty of Discriminating Against Women-Owned Businesses

Well, the numbers are in, and women-owned businesses are still not getting their fair share of business contracts from the government. This is even after changes were made to the federal contracting program for women-owned small business (WOSB) concerns and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB) concerns that went into effect on May 7, 2013.

The change didn't change anything

The 2013 change removed the caps on the size of contracts for WOSB and EDWOSB businesses. In effect, women-owned businesses would no longer be constrained by limits on the size of contracts awarded to them. But the change didn't change a thing. They are still not getting their fair share.

The 5 percent rule is just on paper

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), five percent of government contracts are to be set aside for women-owned businesses. But the numbers are in and here is what they show:

  • Only 4.3 percent of total contracts went to women-owned businesses
  • The SBA fell short of their goal by $2.3 billion
  • Since the program started 20 years ago, the government has never hit it's goal of 5 percent

According to a report from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, not hitting the goal is costing women-owned businesses $63 billion.

Curious increases in other businesses...

What is curious is the fact that the government not only met but exceeded its goal of awarding 23 percent of federal contracts to small businesses in general. A total of $83.2 billion in contracts were given to small businesses in the year ended September 2013, which comes to 23.4 percent of total dollars contracted. This is actually an increase from last year.

So, if small businesses in general can receive their fair share of government contracts, why is it that women-owned businesses cannot receive their fair share?