By Jennifer M. Freedman

December 19, 2011

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Women entrepreneurs, with full or partial ownership of more than a third of global businesses, win just 1 percent of government contracts, according to Patricia Francis, executive director of the International Trade Centre.

They may get a bigger piece of that pie as a World Trade Organization agreement opens up purchasing to more competition, minimizing cronyism and nepotism that have capped women’s access to such business, she said in an interview today in Geneva.

“Women don’t think of themselves in certain kinds of positions, and therefore you need role models, you need an outreach program, you need to get a process of engagement,” said Francis.

The disparity is particularly pronounced in developing countries, although women in rich economies also get a disproportionately small share of such contracts, according to the ITC, the Geneva-based joint agency of the WTO and the United Nations. While 5 percent of federal contracts worth about $30 billion were to be allocated to female business owners in the U.S. last year, the actual number fell short of that figure…Robert Anderson, a counselor in the WTO’s intellectual property division, said the procurement accord is “very important for women” even though it covers no countries in Africa, where women are a growing economic forceRead more.