Wall Street Journal Independent Street blog post by Kelly Spors

Soon, it may be harder for women-owned businesses to win federal contracts.

A Small Business Administration proposed rule, which was first published in the Federal Register last December, would limit the number of federal contracts set aside for women-owned businesses to four industries that are shown to be underrepresented by women. The four are: national security and international affairs; coating, engraving, heat treating and allied activities; household and institutional furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing; and motor vehicle dealers.

... Several conservative groups have backed the SBA’s proposal, saying set-asides should only be given in industries where there is documented under-representation of women business owners. Several Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry, who is chair of the Senate’s Small Business Committee, and women advocacy groups ardently oppose the rule. They say women-owned businesses have a hard enough time winning federal contracts. This will make it all the harder.

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