Women small business owners are being left out of major government contracts. A major reason is that many contracts have a pre-approved list of businesses to purchase from. Komal Goyal, owner of a small IT firm, thinks that “The contracting officers putting together a list of possible vendors must ensure certain groups have access to these contracts. If women-owned businesses aren’t one of those boxes to check off, we don’t even get the chance to compete.”
Goyal and many others believe women are being overlooked in the government contracting process. According to the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), government contracts sometimes have requirements, or tracks that ensure socio-economic groups have access to contracts. Currently only a quarter of potential contracts include an option for women-owned businesses
To ensure that women owned firms get more opportunities in the future, WIPP has outlined four actions policymakers can implement to help solve the problem.
- Increase contracts that require the inclusion of women owned businesses
- Adding and enforcing an on-boarding process for contracts already underway
- Requiring all agencies to report the socio-economic status of businesses on the pre-approved list
- Creating a government-wide acquisition contract for women-owned small businesses to provide IT services to all agencies.