The federal government has finally awarded 5% of federal government contracts to women-owned small businesses in fiscal year 2015, after more than 20 years of falling below the mark.
In 1994, the federal government created the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, which was an effort to increase the ratio of federal contracts that went to women-owned small businesses. The program’s progress has been aided by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), American Express OPEN, the Give Me Five program and ChallengeHER.
This recent achievement comes months after the Commerce Department released a report showing that women are 21% less likely to win government contracts than otherwise similar companies. Women-owned small businesses are likely to be smaller and have fewer years in business than their male-owned counterparts. However, the disparity remained even after taking those differences into account.
The federal government defines a women-owned business as one that is at least 51% controlled by women. Approximately 36% of American businesses are owned by women, according to census data.