Thursday, October 16, 2008

Women Small Business Owners Receive Pathetic Amount of Federal Contracts

On Thursday, October 2, the New York Times had an article in the business section called “Female-Owned Small Businesses Push for Share of Federal Contracts.” Right now only 3.4 % of annual federal contracts go to female-owned small businesses, even though women account for almost half of all small businesses. A bill was passed in 2000 with a 5% quota for women small business owners to receive the federal contracts. But 5% is absurd. If women own almost half of all small businesses, they should be getting a corresponding quota. Quotas are not even the right way to go about it, but it may be a necessary first step. The article did say that less than ¼ of female-owned small businesses are registered with the government, which may partially account for the pathetic amount of contracts awarded to women. There are also several groups who are working to help women register there businesses.
The article does not address what percentage of male-owned small businesses are registered with the government compared to the percentage of contacts awarded, but if men own slightly over half of all the small businesses, and even if all of them are registered, they should not be getting 96.6% of the contracts. If 1/8 of the businesses registered are female-owned, women should be getting at least 10% of the contracts, at the very least.
The article says that even with the groups helping women to register, “many women remain flummoxed by the system.” It does not say if the men are flummoxed, but it seems they cannot be if they are receiving so many contracts. If the men are not flummoxed it does not say why they are able to so easily register their businesses. Why do women need these special groups helping them anyway? Are there groups that help men and ignore women? If there are groups that help men, and now there are groups that help women, why are men still receiving such a disproportionate amount of the contracts?

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