EMPOWERING WOMEN: FEMALE INNOVATION AND ITS LEGACY
This year’s World Intellectual Property Day is dedicated to female innovators, honouring a significant number of women that are pushing the boundaries in the fields of science, technology, and design and promoting their innovating ideas, courage and curiosity, which help shape the world into a better place.
I. Brilliant Examples
Through the years, brilliant women have contributed in changing the way people see things, women who have not been afraid to go against the conservative minds of their era and open the way to other women to unfold their talents , advance human understanding and re-imagine culture and arts. Who has not heard of the unforgettable Marie Sklodowska-Curie, whose name is equivalent to ‘innovation’? Her theory on radioactivity, her discovery of two elements and her the breakthroughs that her work led to, earned her two Nobel Prizes, making her the first woman to earn the prize and the only woman to win it twice. Or the Germans Caroline Herschel, the first woman to receive full recognition in the world of astronomy and the contemporary Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard ? The latter, a biologist specialized in the field of genetics, became the director of the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen and held this position for 29 years. Most notably, however, in 1995 she shared the Nobel Prize with two other scientists for their extensive work in the genetic control of embryonic development. Maybe Carolyn Davidson, the famous graphic designer of the Nike Swoosh logo?
II. Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace
Despite those impressive examples females are still underrepresented in the areas of Research and Development (R&D). According to the study Women in Science carried out by UNESCO, the worldwide average of women researches by region reaches the number of 29%, whereas, in North America and Western Europe this number extends to 32%. Surprisingly in Germany, a country with major contributions to technological advancement, the percentage of women researchers is even smaller than in the aforementioned ones reaching only the 28% of the total workforce. Central Asia holds the sceptre for the highest percentage of women researchers in the world with an impressive 48%. What is even more disheartening is the fact that female initiative is not financially supported. From the $85 billion total venture capital funding (VC funding) in 2017, all-female teams roughly received $2 billion. That translates into a scarce 2.2% of the total capital. In a strong antithesis their male counterpants received a staggering $67 billion, namely 79% of the total funding. The positive element here is that the situation is slightly better than in 2016, when female founders raised just $1.4 billion-or 1.9% of total VC funding.
III. It all starts within the Family
As the survey shows, even this improvement is not enough to extinguish the shocking gender gap that exists in the business world. The reason for this can be traced a long way back to a woman’s upbringing and her own family, who would discourage her from pursuing a career in innovation. A research conducted by The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) in the UK shows that 93% would not support their female offspring in pursuing an engineering career, which is showcased in the fact that only around 13% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) professionals are women.
IV. International Initiatives and the Role of Women
This leads back to the question of what is practically done to reverse these facts. Young girls around the globe should not feel disheartened when they are bombarded by male scientific archetypes in TV, in movies, in pop culture in general. They should go forth and employ their intellect and talent. Organizations like STEMNET are trying to get women to promote themselves in the men dominated professional areas by appointing female ambassadors to inform young girls about the working opportunities and encourage them to act on their dreams. This year the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is celebrating and honouring women on the annual World Intellectual Property Day, aiming to inform them about the way in which intellectual property law can protect their work and vision. Furthermore, to enhance funding possibilities, the European Commission is awarding female initiative through the Women Innovators 2018 contest. Taking all this commotion into consideration, it is safe to say that important measures have been taken to fight gender inequality and it is only a matter of time to see the prosperous results of a re-imagined society, in which everyone is encouraged and celebrated.
- 1 December 2017: Madrid Monitor takes its place as the one and only tool for tracking international trademarks
- 1 January 2020 - Changes in Classifications - Trademarks, Designs, Patents and Utility Models
- 100th Anniversary of Bavaria (Germany) - A glance at trademarks, start-ups, innovation & events
- 10th Anniversary Edition - 10 Things to Know about LexDellmeier - Past, Present & Future
- A new legal EU framework regulating Artificial Intelligence
- Another year older…
- António Campinos will be the new EPO President from June 2018
- Arguments gone with the wind: the EGC upholds a decision concerning a potential one-letter “e” mark
- At a glance: Higher Regional Court Frankfurt a.M. rules on international competence of German courts for adverts on the Internet (Decision 6 U 3/18 of 14 February 2019)
- BREXIT - Webinar on Legal Changes in EU Trademark and Design Law as of 1 January 2021