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Gender and Ethnic Integration in Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GEISIE (Gender and Ethnic Integration in Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship)

Période du rapport: 2018-06-01 au 2020-05-31

There has been a clear increase in gender and ethnic diversity in the population and many workplaces. Despite this, patented inventions and high-growth startups tend to come from a very narrow subset of the population, generally men from wealthy family backgrounds. If innovation and entrepreneurship became more inclusive and integrated, would we see not only more innovations and startups, but possibly quite different kinds of innovations and startups? In other words, does the demography of who invents and founds companies matter for what gets invented and founded?
Increasing inclusion and integration in innovation and entrepreneurship is a critical task for our societies. First, from an equality perspective access to opportunities and integration of the population across gender and ethnic lines is important. Second, our societies face aging populations and slowing productivity, which means greater innovative and entrepreneurial activity is essential. Third, while purely quantitative increases in innovation and entrepreneurship would be important, greater inclusion and integration also hold the promise of greater diversity of new innovative ideas and startups.
The objectives of this project are to assess how inclusion and integration have changed over time, what are the barriers to inclusion and integration, and what are the consequences
The project started by building algorithms to identify gender and ethnicity from names. The gender algorithm was completed relatively quickly and the ethnicity algorithm continues to be developed. These algorithms allow the identification of the gender of key people in the innovation and startup ecosystem, including inventors, startup founders, and investors. The key advance in the project came from the innovations that allowed the project to link also the innovations themselves as well as the products of startups to the likely gender of their target audience. Various manual coding and keyword methods were used for this and, in the case of biomedical innovations, online machine learning tools were used.

The main results achieved so far:


* First, there is a clear increasing trend in female participation in innovation and also a contemporaneous increase in innovations targeted at women.
* Second, female inventors tend to invent for women. There is a strong link in the having females on an innovator team and the innovation being targeted at women (see figure 1). This result holds even in narrowly defined areas of biomedicine, suggesting that it is not only a consequence of women sorting or being sorted into specific areas. The results is strongest when the women have more autonomy, in particular when they are the leader of the innovator team rather than a non-leading member and when they work at a university rather than a corporation, suggesting that women are choosing to innovate for women.
* Third, there is evidence that in particular increases in female project leaders in a particular area is correlated with an increase in innovations for women, with a possible causal connection leading from increasing female innovation leaders to more innovations for women. (see figure 2)
* Fourth, female entrepreneurs with female-oriented products or services seem to benefit from the presence of female investors, suggesting that it is important for women to be integrated into the entire innovation chain from science to innovation to entrepreneurship to investing.

The results have been published:

- Koning, Rembrand, Sampsa Samila, and John-Paul Ferguson. 2019. “Female Inventors and Inventions.” https://www.ssrn.com/abstract=3401889
- Koning, Rembrand, Sampsa Samila, and John-Paul Ferguson. 2020. “Inventor Gender and the Direction of Invention.” AEA Papers and Proceedings 110:250-254.
- Koning, Rembrand, Sampsa Samila, and John-Paul Ferguson. 2020. “Researcher Gender and Gendered Research.” Project Repository Journal 5: 96-97.

The results are also an integral part of teaching content at the host institution and have been presented in corporate settings. Further outreach efforts are planned.
The key advance in the project is the ability to link innovations and products to the gender they target and this has allowed an unprecedented ability to understand the potential consequences of inclusion and integration.

Follow-on studies will examine in greater depth the effect inclusion and integration have on the direction of science and on the product market
Figure 1. Inventor team gender composition and gender-focus of the innovation
Figure 2. Proportion of patents focused on gendered conditions over time