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Women-Owned Businesses Get Less Than 5% of Federal Contract Dollars


Businesses run by women have a significantly lower chance of winning federal government contracts than those run by men.

A new study by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that government contracts are 21% less likely to be awarded to women-owned business, according to the New York Times. The report also finds that the value of contracts women do run accounts for just 4.7% of the government’s total spending on contracts.

This is despite a goal set by the Small Business Administration (SBA) five years ago to help companies owned by women win at least 5% of federal contract dollars.

The SBA’s program has made little progress in increasing women’s chances of doing business with the government: When it began in 2011, the value of federal contracts awarded to women was 4% of the government’s total spend.

According to the Times, the report’s explanation for the disparity is that companies winning government contracts tend to be larger and older, while women-owned business tend to be “smaller and younger than other businesses.”

Women-owned businesses—defined as those at least 51% owned by one or more women—account for about 30% of American companies. [To read more about female entrepreneurship, subscribe to the Broadsheet, Fortune‘s daily newsletter about the most powerful women in business.]

Fortune has reached out the the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration and will update this story if and when we receive a response with more information.