Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Women in Business Decry Fed Contract Lockout

Okay, let me set the stage for this bit of unwelcome news. Females are a statistical majority of the US population: 50.8% according to the US Census Bureau. Women own 30 percent of all privately-owned businesses in the country and are awarded an insulting, paltry 3.4% of all Federal contracts - which total billions of dollars every year. Sound fair to you? I didn't think so.

Well, it gets worse. A group of women business owners recently sued the feds for actively delaying the implementation of steps designed to address this obvious disparity, and WON in DC's Federal Circuit Court. So the courts agree, the government is in fact actively interfering with efforts to award a fair number of federal contracts to women-owned businesses. Worse, the feds are actually delaying implementation of new rules. What's up with that? Read the Washington Post article here.

So let me get this straight. The "ole boys" club, who have been rigorously maintaining the glass ceiling for years now, continue to hold women back - even though they are now a majority of the population. So much for "...by the people, for the people..." This is especially counterintuitive as researchers and activists around the world discover that the best way to alleviate poverty is to give women cell phones and access to credit. That's right. This is just another turf battle over control of power and wealth, at the end of the day. Conservative, angry white men have always called the shots in the US and that is going to change sometime very soon. So there's fear-and-loathing on Wall Street and in male-dominated small businesses across the contry. Well, get used to it. And get a grip. Business and the economy benefit from diversity and increased competition, so we're told. And I believe it.

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