Women business owners shafted on federal contracts

The government is falling short of its goal to give 5 percent of contracts to women-owned small businesses.


Rebecca Traister
April 18, 2006 12:15AM (UTC)

Despite a pledge to award 5 percent of its contracts to small, women-owned businesses, the federal government is falling short of even that number, says New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez, the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee. Instead, the feds continue to hand out contracts to massive, big-name and mostly male-run corporations. Velázquez gave the government a "D" on contracting with small businesses on her last report card, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune.

Six years ago, Congress dictated that the government had to set aside contracts in male-dominated industries for competition by women-owned businesses, but the law has yet to be implemented. After a complaint was filed in U.S. District Court last year, the judge ruled that the foot-dragging by the Small Business Administration was "unreasonable."

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According to the Tribune, "every year that goes by, women-owned firms miss out on as much as $5 billion in set-aside contracting."


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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