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In 1994, Congress set a government-wide target that 5 percent of all federal contracts should go to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs).More recently, legislation was signed into law creating a set-aside for such businesses but requiring that the Small Business Administration study the issue to determine in which — if any — of the government’s 313 contracting categories, many of which are defense-related, WOSBs were underrepresented.Since then there has been an SBA study, a National Academy of Sciences review, a court case, and an external, independent study by the respected RAND Corporation on the issue. The RAND study concluded that WOSBs were underrepresented in four contracting categories, based on a review of dollars going to such firms.Recently, based upon the RAND study, statutory law and constitutional precedent, SBA issued a proposed set-aside rule for women-owned small businesses.
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