Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM Careers

Lack of Women Inventors Could Hurt Innovation, ­.S. Patent Office Says

View as: Print Mobile App Share: Send by email Share on reddit Share on StumbleUpon Share on Hacker News Share on Tweeter Share on Facebook
woman at workbench

Women made up only 12 percent of all inventors on U.S. patents granted in 2016, USPTO says.

More women are filing patents, but they still have a long way to go in terms of representation among inventors, according to a report from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The report, "Progress and Potential: A Profile of Women Inventors on U.S. Patents," says that while the share of patents that include at least one woman listed as an inventor rose from 7 percent in the 1980s to 21 percent in 2016, women accounted for only 12 percent of inventors in 2016. 

"Harnessing underexploited talent in these groups would be valuable to spurring innovation and driving growth," says the report, whose release coincided with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. It refers to the idea of "lost Einsteins," or people who could have made valuable contributions had they been exposed to "innovation and inventor role models." 

The low percentage of women inventors adds another dimension to the discussion of a lack of women in STEM fields.

View Full Article


No entries found