Spotlight

Women & IP

Over the past 50 years, women have entered the workforce at all levels in ever greater numbers. This trend has been accelerated in part by government policies, and with good reason: studies show that including women equally in the formal economy could spur growth in gross domestic product by as much as 26 per cent.

To obtain the full benefit of women’s participation in the workforce, women must be able to secure the fruits of their innovative and creative labors, especially as intangible value now makes up an ever increasing part of business value and investment. Access to and the effective use of intellectual property rights will be critical to women’s ability to capitalize on this value.

This page celebrates female innovators and presents resources about promising policies to address the gender IP gap, to ensure that women can effectively use IP tools to move their ideas to society.

Celebrating female innovators and working to dismantle obsacles in their paths

“Progress and Potential“: 2020 Update on US Women Inventor-Patentees

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18 year old inventor Fatima Alkaabi on why the world needs girls to study AI

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Analysis of the gender of inventors in international patent applications

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Article about how the gender gap in US patents leads to fewer inventions that help women

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Challenges for Women Inventors and Innovators in Using the IP System

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Closing the Gender Gap in Intellectual Property

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Gender Profiles in UK: Patenting An Analysis of Female Inventorship

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Girl Scouts Intellectual Property Patch Program

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Girls Robotics Team, Zarifa Ghafari and Aryana Saeed: Afghan Prodigies Who Fled After Taliban Takeover

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Healthcare Needs More Diverse Experts To Guide Innovation

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Invent Together is dedicated to raising awareness about the diversity gap in IP

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Lack of diversity in patent holders means half of the population isn’t getting needs met, says economist Lisa Cook

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Meet Valerie Thomas, the inventor and scientist who launched the longest-running satellite program imaging Earth’s surface

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Publication about how gender mainstreaming enhances women’s representation in inventions

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Publication: Policy Approaches to Close the Intellectual Property Gender Gap

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Q&A with Nicole Kayode, female CEO of Medixus, a modern communication tool for medics

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Quotes from speakers during the “Women in Innovation” webinar, International Women’s day 2021

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Slideshow: Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and Strategies to Address the Gender IP Gap

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Slideshow: Five Actions to Address the Gender IP Gap

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Spotlight: 10 Questions for Shiok Meats’ female CTO Ka Yi Ling

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Synopsis of: “Practices to Support Access to the Intellectual Property System for Female Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs”

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Tackling the Gender and Racial Patenting Gap to Drive Innovation: Lessons from Women’s Experiences

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Tehran municipality honors inspirational women of the century

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The Ella Project: Creating Female Role Models

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The inspiring story of Diana Trujillo, aerospace engineer at NASA

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Trailblazing Women Engineers Inspire the Next Generation

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Two Black Women Make History with Induction Into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

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What the future may hold: Patent analyst Kavitha Andoji aims to turn big ideas into big things

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WIPO Patents & Technology Head Appointed Organization’s First IP & Gender Champion

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WIPO’s “Women in Green” Interviews

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The gender IP gap is unacceptable, creating costs for countries, organisations, individuals, and societies everywhere.

Research indicates that women are not participating in the IP system at the same rates as men, and that the relative deficit in access to the intellectual property system by women is present across all forms of IP rights. Solving this problem has the potential to greatly benefit individual women and businesses, as well as societies at large. At the individual level, increasing women’s access to the IP system can have such benefits as increased pay, better professional opportunities, and increased visibility within their fields. In terms of the societal level, one study has estimated that closing the gender gap with regard to patents could increase a nation’s GDP by 2.7 per cent. Most importantly, society should benefit from the ingenuity of all people - not just half of them.

Closing the gap must be a priority. Here are some ideas for action.

As in all areas of civil society where women do not participate proportionately, the prevailing gender gap in intellectual property has a negative impact on innovation, sustainability goals and ultimately the global economy. The following measures can help to ensure greater equality.

  • Precise data collection
  • Interventions that contribute to women entering STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) or other IP-intensive fields
  • Increasing the number of women IP law and administration professionals
  • Helping women to understand the value of IP to their work and how to use the system
  • Providing women with mentoring and opportunities for advancement in IP-intensive fields
The Innovation Council partners with Invent Together and WIPO to create new momentum for addressing the gender IP gap.