Why don’t all government contractors identify as women?

From “Should You Get Certified As A Woman-Owned Small Business?”:

Generally-speaking, if you’re thinking about working with the government in any way, then getting it’s worth at least looking into getting certified as a women-owned small business (WOSB). You can do this through the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce or another approved third-party certifier. The benefits of getting certified as a WOSB include being able to pursue public sector work and any “set-asides” the government has. Every year, the U.S. government aims to award at least five percent of its contract funds to women-owned small business.

A question for Pride Month: If a person currently identifying as a “man” owns and operates a small company (“small” for the Defense Department is fewer than 500 employees) that does business with the government, why not switch to identifying as a “woman” so that the company qualifies for favorable treatment as a Women-Owned Small Business?

The Federal set-asides for “women” were set up under a different conception of the term. With $17+ billion at stake, why not a trip to the DMV to ask for a change from male to female?

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11 thoughts on “Why don’t all government contractors identify as women?

  1. I can’t think of a single reason not to. Unless your first name is Pat or Kelly or some similar name that works for both men and women, then you’d need to change your first name to something feminine sounding just to avoid unwanted questions.

    But the REAL value is in becoming a small disadvantaged (8a) minority business. It’s a lot more important to be the correct (non-Caucasian) race than to be a woman. But if you’re both, that’s even better!

    • Why can’t someone named “Philip” or “Brian” identify as a woman? Why is it anyone’s business precisely how a person named “William” expresses her womanhood?

    • I suppose it isn’t, but it would probably draw a request for proof that you’re a woman or self identify as a woman.

  2. Intriguing idea but I think it would be easier just to use a woman as a front rather than getting into a debate with government officials over whether identifying as a woman will get you what you want. I imagine the woman/minority as a front is used all the time since it is hard to see how you could police the ultimate ownership of a business, which could be disguised through layers of companies, contractual arrangements or transfer pricing.

    • A friend of a friend owns a small electrical engineering business, here in Boston (30 employee). When he started the business some 15 years ago, he did just that, put his wife’s name as the owner, who has zero knowledge on how to run a business or anything about engineering. For 15 years now, his job proposal with any government agencies is submitted under WOSB and ends up getting most contracts. No one dares to question his company because doing so means you are discriminating against the woman in charge.

    • Yep. I have a friend that started a consulting company for DoD contracts. It’s in his wife’s name. It’s very common. It’s so common that unless you’ve got a female or minority front, you’re not going to get a subcontract from the big defense contractors.

  3. You generally have to prove your gender by showing a birth certificate or government ID with an F on it, which requires a lot more effort than just writing “Philip is my deadname, I now identify as Philippa” on the application. I guess you could pay a doctor to write up some fake sex change documentation.

    • A new driver’s license with a gender ID of “female” can be obtained in 5 minutes (or 5 hours, depending on how long the line at the DMV/RMV is!). What is simpler than that?

  4. “A new driver’s license with a gender ID of “female” can be obtained in 5 minutes (or 5 hours, depending on how long the line at the DMV/RMV is!). What is simpler than that?”>>>>> Not here in California. Dealing with the DMV usually turns into many months of standing in lines and waiting for appointments for even the most basic thing.

    • > Not here in California. Dealing with the DMV usually turns into many months of standing in lines

      Don’t you guys have express lines for the undocumented?
      there is no need for bureaucracy: nothing to check anyway.

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