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The invention

March 13, 2012

In times of stagnating economy, manufacturers are desperately hunting inventors, who can create a money making product. Those who provide inventions are in strong demand these days. But how comes only 5% of commercial patent holders are female? Is all ingenuity really concentrated in male hands or there are other factors preventing equality in patents.

So where is the gap coming from? Experts suggest the main reason is scarcity of women with engineering degrees. Only one fifth of engineering students in the USA are females. This prevents women to engage in manufacturing sector. However, it does not fully clarify the gap. Even among women with engineering degrees, working in development and design, those holding a patent are underrepresented.

The lack of women inventors has not only social, but also real economic consequences. The study from National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge points out: “eliminating the patenting shortfall of female holders of science and engineering degrees would increase GDP per capita by 2.7%.” In today’s fiscal terms, that would be The invention.


From → Hic Salta

  1. wobsy permalink

    Is there any truth in the theory/rumour/myth/accepted wisdom that men have greater visio-spatial ability? If so, this might mean that men have a greater natural disposition toward design.
    I fully support the campaign to promote women to positions of power within industry. It’s easy to see why men operate a “closed shop” to exclude them. But I’m less convinced of that argument in engineering. A cynic might argue that it is in the capitalists’ best interest to encourage women to design, so as to drive the costs down!
    We seek equality of opportunity, not homogenity, don’t we?


    • Wobsy, I could not agree more, especially with your last sentence. However, there are so many theory/rumour/myth/accepted wisdom and such a lack of serious research in the field. And there is always that tricky question of nature vs nurture. So our attempts for the time being seems to be pure guessing, apart from cutting the cost argument.


      • wobsy permalink

        Yes, we’d be a lot better if we didn’t have to guess. Do you see any cause for optimism?


      • From a historical perspective, we have come a long way. I believe this is a ground for being optimistic about the future as well. On the other hand, looking from the individual point of view, social changes for the better never come too soon.


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