Friday, March 17 2023   \  Published by Venner Shipley.

Gender Equality in Patenting

Gender Equality in Patenting

Gender equality in patenting

A recent EPO report analysed European patent application data, providing an insight into the activity of women inventors.

The report highlights some positive trends in increasing women inventor rates, however it is clear that there is much more scope for improving gender equality in patenting. The report indicates that in the late 1970s, the percentage of women inventors at the EPO was incredibly low at just 2%. This percentage, or “women inventorship rate” has improved remarkably since then, and stood at 13% in 2019. However there is clearly still a huge gender gap in inventorship.

One of the key findings of the report is that the gender gap in inventorship is much larger than the gender gap in other economic and scientific activities. In the workplace overall, between 40 and 50% of the workforce are women for most European countries. The data goes on to indicate a “leaky pipeline” for women in STEM. The number of students enrolled in a PhD largely reflects the overall workplace. The percentage of women graduating with a PhD in STEM is generally lower than the percentage of women in the workforce or enrolled in a PhD. Similarly, the percentage of women researchers, women in R&D, and managers is generally lower than the percentage of those graduating from a PhD, showing a level of attrition of women progressing through STEM careers. However, a much bigger drop is seen for the women inventor rate in all those European countries. It is clear therefore that the women inventorship rate is not reflective of the percentages of women in scientific careers. Read more

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