Edited by Helen Lawton Smith, Colette Henry, Henry Etzkowitz and Alexandra Poulovassilis
Chapter 17: Trends and determinants of women in patenting in the United States
This chapter discusses the trend in women’s patenting in the United States (US) and provides explanations of gender inequalities. The US Patent and Trademark Office does not identify the gender, race or ethnicity of applicants. Male and female names are usually identified using algorithms, which have many problems. Historically, women dominated in haberdashery, kitchen utensils, and so on. Very few women are in patent-intensive fields (for example, computer hardware, peripherals). Learning from those few women patenting in patent-intensive high-tech fields can be useful for all. Data on processes leading to women’s participation in patenting can be gathered from higher education institutions, government laboratories and companies in order to understand institution-specific facilitators/barriers; this will add to the fact that there are (demographic) inequalities in STEM education and the career pipeline. While any participation by women and minorities in patenting is a positive outcome, participation in fields that transform society and/or provide lucrative returns, after controlling for the inequalities in STEM education and the career pipeline, is critical for inclusive innovation.
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