The most recent WIPO Magazine is devoted to women and IP. There are a number of fascinating articles concerning women involved in creating in various technology and artistic spaces. One interesting story involves Sybilla Masters. She “developed a way to process Indian corn in 1715 and her achievements were recorded in the patent document, the associated right was issued to her husband. At that time, the prevailing laws stated that women could not own property.” WIPO also discusses the gender gap in patent filings—only about 4% to 20% of patent applications include a female inventor depending on the country. The United States is at 10%. Interestingly, WIPO points to several causes of the gap: 1) fewer women in STEM fields; 2) “Female scientists and engineers are less likely than their male counterparts to think about commercializing their inventions, and are less comfortable marketing themselves and their work to potential business partners.;” and 3) Female scientists and engineers “are less likely to be invited to sit on prestigious scientific boards or advisory panels where they could meet potential innovation partners.”
The Brookings Institute recently announced the creation of Sourcelist. Sourcelist is a database of women who are experts in technology policy, and coming soon—a database of other diverse groups who are also experts in technology policy. Sourcelist states that it was created because:
Recognizing that women and underrepresented genders in technology policy—a field at the intersection of Silicon Valley and the Washington Beltway—face a particular set of institutional barriers, we dedicated the first Sourcelist database to Women+. Issues associated with underrepresentation have not gone unnoticed, and countless organizations have made important progress in raising awareness of the problem and educating stakeholders on the importance of greater gender diversity. Sourcelist seeks to help in the last mile of those efforts; it is a resource for those looking to put good intention into practice.
This looks like a great idea! If you are female, sign up to get on the list!
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