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Fewer Fed Contracts Going to Women

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April 27, 2007 -- Women small-business owners accounted for only 3.3 percent of all federal contracts awarded in 2005, below the government-wide target of 5 percent, a recent study found.

Women owners were underrepresented in more than half of the industries analyzed, including manufacturing, construction, education services, and health care, according to the RAND Corporation, a non-profit research group based in Santa Monica, Calif.

Yet, when the dollar value of these contracts was used a basis for measure, women federal contractors tended to be more on par with men, researchers found.

"These findings provide policymakers with new information about how to judge whether women-owned small businesses are underrepresented among federal contractors," Elaine Reardon, an economist at RAND who led the study, said in a statement.

The study was conducted for the Small Business Administration.

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