Use of intellectual property by women: challenges and perspectives.

On 28 April, EACA participated in the webinar “Closing the Gender Gap in Intellectual Property – Mapping and Addressing Barriers” organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The webinar discussed the urgency of addressing barriers that limit women in using the IP system and explored opportunities to foster their IP participation.

The challenge – insufficient data and persistent gender gaps

Disparities exist in the use of the IP system by women and other groups. The 2020 statistics reveal that only 16.5% of inventors named in international patent applications were women. While the numbers are moving in the right direction, progress is slow. WIPO estimates that, at the current rate, parity among inventors named in the PCT will not be achieved until 2058.

Supporting positive change

The challenges are enormous, but there is a growing recognition of the need to close the IP gender gap. Around the world, organisations and individuals are working to encourage and support women innovators and creators. Initiatives range from international campaigns to promote women’s involvement in science to more targeted schemes for countries, regions, and groups.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is protected by law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which allow people to gain recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.