07 June 2007 | Paul Snell
US senator John Kerry has hit out at what he perceives as a lack of action in helping small firms owned by women win government contracts.
His comments follow the release of a study by think-tank the RAND Corporation, which found female-owned small businesses were under-represented in 87 per cent of industries, in respect to the number of contracts they win.
The former presidential candidate has written to the head of the US Small Business Administration, the organisation responsible for promoting and helping the interests of small firms. He has asked why the Women's Procurement Program - which was passed in 2000 to increase the number of women-owned small businesses winning government contracts - has still not been introduced.
"It's shameful they're not getting a fair shot at government contracts, and the Administration needs to help level the playing field," said Kerry.
The US government has a target of giving 5 per cent of contracts to women-owned small businesses annually, but managed only 3.3 per cent in 2005, the most recent figure.