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European study of gender aspects of inventions - Statistical survey and analysis of gender impact on inventions

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Gender imbalance related to patents awarded

An EU-funded initiative identified a disproportionately small number of patents awarded to women in science and technology. Further research into the causes of the imbalance should aid in the development of new programmes to empower women scientists and thus increase European competitiveness.

Climate Change and Environment

The ‘European study of gender aspects of inventions - Statistical survey and analysis of gender impact on inventions’ (ESGI) project set out to evaluate inventive activities of women in science as measured by the number of patents awarded. Although women are participating in greater numbers and excelling at science in school at all levels, they are underrepresented in patents awarded. This discrepancy means they are less likely to gain professional recognition and thus better job opportunities. In addition, they are not contributing to their full abilities in innovation and intellectual property (IP) production. Given that the EU has a goal of becoming the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, it is critical to tap into the innovative potential of women in scientific research and development (R&D) and to empower them to participate in the patent award process. The incomplete integration of women in the research/development/patent award cycle severely handicaps the EU’s goal of science and technology (S&T) excellence. In summary, the ESGI project identified a new factor in gender discrepancy within the science/technology arena, namely patents awarded to women. Insufficient gender mainstreaming of innovative processes impedes efficiency, productivity and competitiveness in a global technology marketplace. It is thus imperative that EU countries determine the cause of the patent imbalance, and develop ways to empower women to successfully participate in the patent award process.

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