Female Owned Businesses and Federal Contracts

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that, “The odds of businesses owned by women winning a federal contract are about 21 percent lower than for otherwise similar companies, and years of effort to increase those chances have barely made an impact, according to a new report from the Commerce Department.”

The Times article explained that, “The percentage of federal contract dollars going to companies owned by women rose to 4.7 percent in the 2014 fiscal year, the most recent year that the report examined, from 4 percent in 2011, when the Small Business Administration program to help such companies began, according to the report. Businesses owned by women, which are defined as companies that are at least 51 percent owned by one woman or more, account for about 30 percent of American companies.”

The news article added that, “Businesses owned by women generally are ‘smaller and younger than other businesses,’ the report said. Yet that accounts ‘for only part of the disparity in the likelihood of winning contracts,’ it added. ‘Even when controlling for firm characteristics, including firm size and age, women-owned businesses are less likely to win contracts than otherwise similar businesses not owned by women.’

“The report did not suggest other explanations for the disparity or ways to alleviate it.”

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