NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Politics Reflecting Influx Of Women Business Owners

October 14, 2003

Over the past 15 years, women business owners have emerged as key players in the political world. More than one million companies were started by women in the 1990s, growing twice as fast as all others. Now these female entrepreneurs donate to political campaigns and join men in trying to shape health care regulation, government contracting and other political cornerstones.

  • Contributions from female chief executives to federal candidates and parties rose to 8,014 in the 2001-02 political cycle from 293 in 1989-90, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks Federal Election Commission records.
  • For the 2000 campaigns, which included a presidential election, 122 women gave upward of $100,000 each -- three times as many as for the 1996 elections, whereas the number of men making such contributions only doubled during this period.
  • Overall, women gave $302.5 million for the 2000 elections -- more than one-third of the total and 72 percent more than in 1996; by comparison, men's contributions increased 58 percent, to $858.4 million, in the same period.
  • Health care premiums for all companies rose 13.9 percent this year from 2002, but the increase was higher --5.5 percent -- among smaller firms, many of which are owned by women.
  • Federal law says female-owned firms are supposed to get 5 percent of the dollar value of federal government contracts, but the share they actually receive is less than 2.5 percent.

Business owners say this figure may reflect the fact that federal contracts are increasingly being bundled into larger, billion dollar deals which pit small growing firms against big established ones.

Source: Jim Hopkins, "More Women Flex Muscles In Politics," USA Today, September 16, 2003.


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