Women inventors make gains, but gender gaps remain 2024-04-09

In March 2024, on the World Economic Forum Website it was posted an article about gender inequality on patenting.

The research, conducted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, reveals that although more women are being named in scientific patents, men still outnumber them significantly.

According to the United Nations, only 17% of inventors holding international patents were women in 2022, while 83% were men.

Specifically, the graph below illustrates that women in electrical engineering are progressing the fastest, chemistry has the highest share of women inventors, and mechanical engineering has the smallest share of women inventors.


Graph 1 is sourced from the Science & Engineering Indicators 2024 report, which studied the prevalence of women as inventors in design patents and utility patents in broad technology areas (to read more, the link to the report is: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsb20241/invention-indicators-protecting-useful-ideas#counting-women-as-patented-inventors).

Another interesting information concerns the rate of women inventors by region. Latin America and the Caribbean perform strongly, with women representing 21% of all listed inventors. In Asia, women inventors represent 17% of the total, while in North America and Europe, women account for 15% and 14% respectively of all listed inventors. For Africa and Oceania, the rate stands at 13%.

Graph 2 is sourced from a WIPO 2023 report (to read more, the link to the report is: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo-pub-ds-gender-2023-en-the-gender-gap-in-global-patenting-an-international-comparison-over-two-decades.pdf )

The report analyzes women’s partecipation in international patent application between 1999 and 2020, finding that women are involved in only 23 % of all applications. Women inventors are more prevalent in academia than in the private sector, and typically work in mostly-male teams or alone.

According to the WIPO report, “Much work” is still needed to achieve gender parity. Based on current trends, the estimated target year for achieving gender parity in patenting is 2061.

Source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/03/women-inventors-gender-gap-stem-patents/




Tamara Besednjak Valič

Faculty Of Information Studies In Novo Mesto

e-mail: tamara.valic@fis.unm.si


Virág Szuák

Pannon Business Network Association

e-mail: virag.szuak@pbn.hu