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WIPP Report Showing Lack of Opportunity for Women in Government Contracting Prompts New Legislation

Wednesday, May 10, 2017   (0 Comments)
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For Immediate Release: May 11, 2017

Erin Musgrave 
(530) 864-7014

Conan Knoll
(831) 524-6764

WIPP Report Showing Lack of Opportunity for Women in Government Contracting Prompts New Legislation

Sens. Ernst and Gillibrand introduce bipartisan legislation directing SBA to study opportunities for all socio-economic categories of small business, including women-owned small businesses, in the government’s largest contracts

Washington, D.C., May 11—In response to research from Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and others revealing that women business owners are being shut out of large government contracts, U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced bipartisan legislation directing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to study the issue.

Under S. 1038, the SBA would address concerns that women-owned small business participation is underrepresented in multiple award contracts, the kind of contracts many federal agencies favor because they create a pre-approved list of businesses that can supply unlimited goods or services during a specified period, of up to 10 years. The study also would examine the participation of all other socio-economic categories of small businesses, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, those participating in the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program and participants in the 8(a) program..

“We’re thrilled that Sens. Ernst and Gillibrand have sponsored legislation aimed at helping women business owners get into the game and win some of the government’s largest and most lucrative contracts,” said WIPP President Jane Campbell. “This bipartisan legislation will help us fully understand the issue, which is the first step in finding a solution.”

A report WIPP released in December, Do Not Enter: Women Being Shut Out of U.S. Government’s Biggest Contracts, analyzed 19 of the government’s largest and most lucrative contracts and found that 12 have requirements that ensure certain socio-economic groups have access to the contracts. But just a quarter have such requirements for women-owned firms. Furthermore, a 2015 Department of Commerce report shows that the odds of a woman-owned small business winning a federal contract are 21 percent lower than those of their counterparts.

“Small businesses make up 97 percent of all employers in Iowa, which is home to about 82,000 women-owned businesses, so it’s important that we make sure our entrepreneurs are getting a fair shot at winning federal contracts,” said Sen. Ernst. “This bipartisan call for a study is an important first step to identify any discrepancies so we can develop solutions to ensure all small businesses have equal access to these contracting opportunities.”

“Women-owned small businesses receive a disproportionately low number of federal contracts, and this legislation would help uncover why this is happening,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “We need to do everything we can to make sure that women-owned small businesses can compete for federal contracts on a level playing field, so that they can have the same access to good-paying jobs as anyone else. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Ernst, and I will always fight for good-paying jobs in New York.”

WIPP has made solving this problem a top priority and has worked with Sens. Ernst and Gillibrand to more fully understand the issue.

“We already know the country has a lot to gain by unleashing the economic potential of women entrepreneurs,” Campbell said. “Women own 10 million U.S. businesses, generate more than $1.4 trillion in revenues and employ 8.4 million people. Imagine what they could do when competing on a level playing field.”

For more information on S. 1038 visit:



About WIPP

WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs—strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations.


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