Share of Women Inventors Increasing, but Gaps Remain

17 march 2020


Preliminary WIPO statistics reveal that in 2019 less than one fifth of inventors named in international patent applications were women. It has taken 25 years for this share to almost double, from 9.5% in 1995 to 18.7% in 2019. While numbers are going in the right direction, at the current pace parity amongst PCT-listed inventors will only be reached in 2044.

International patent applications are an important benchmark for measuring innovative activity in the global economy. The low representation of women is of particular concern as it indicates that a huge range of talents is not being put at the disposal of humanity to help solve pressing social problems – such as climate change, sustainable energy production and consumption or food security – and to increase competiveness.

Women inventors tend to be concentrated in specific disciplines, with approximately 60% filing applications in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and organic fine chemistry.

Engines, pumps and turbines, and mechanical elements are the fields in which women filed the least patent applications in 2019.

Consistently with trends in the past decade, women inventors continue to be more prevalent within academia (27.1% in 2019) as opposed to the private sector (17.8%).

Based on the WIPO website materials.