Gender gap in US patents leads to few inventions that help women

The economist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Rembrand Koning, reasoned that the relative scarcity of women’s health products on the market is due to a scarcity of women inventing them. A study published in June confirms this theory: few biotechnology patents are owned by women, and female inventors are significantly more likely than are male ones to patent health products for women.

Teams made up of all women, were 35% more likely than all-male teams to invent technologies relating to women’s health. But teams made up of all women or all men were equally likely to patent technologies for men’s health. If women and men had produced an equal number of patents since 1976, the researchers estimated, there would be 6,500 more female-focused inventions today. 

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