Number of female inventors is on the rise worldwide

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The number of female inventors is on the rise across the globe, according to new research.

The research, collated by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), found that since 2000, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the proportion of female inventors worldwide.

In the UK, female inventorship has risen by 16 per cent in the last ten years, and the UK has recently been ranked the best place to patent in the world in Taylor Wessing’s Global Intellectual Property Index.

Despite this increase, the number of female inventors still remains relatively low. In 2000, only 6.8 per cent of all inventors worldwide were female, rising to 11.5 per cent in 2015.

The data also found that the proportion of female inventors varied from country to country. Russia and France have the highest number of female inventors, with 15.7 and 11.7 per cent respectively, while Germany and Japan have some of the lowest, standing at 5.5 and 3.7 per cent.

Female inventors can be found more commonly in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals fields, whilst the lowest proportion of female inventorship is seen in mechanical engineering.

Baroness Neville Rolfe, Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, said, “It is very promising that women are increasingly bringing their innovative ideas to life, and we are providing more talented women around the country with the funding opportunities they need to develop their business ideas and help to build an economy that works for all.”

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I want to see even more women being given the support they need to bring their business plans to market.”

Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said, “Recent analysis indicates that only 14% of applicants to Innovate UK competitions are women.”

“We are seeking to redress this balance via our ‘InFocus Campaign’ which celebrates, supports and enables women through a package of business support, plus a £50,000 individual grant to develop their innovations.”

“There are so many talented women with great business ideas.”

“The UK economy would be improved by a better gender balance in our entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

Over the past 100 years, British women been responsible for a number of major inventions, such as Rosalind Franklin, who played a key role in the discovery of DNA; Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer; and Anne McLaren, whose work lead to the birth of the first test tube baby.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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