Oct 2, 2019

Women earn small fraction of patents issued, research shows

Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/picture alliance via Getty Image

Women account for less than 13% of all patents applicants worldwide, according to a study by the UK's Intellectual Property Office.

Why it matters: Researchers cite a lack of women working in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — for the uneven ratio.

By the numbers: The proportion of female inventors almost doubled between 1998 and 2017, from 6.8% to 12.7%, the study found.

  • The number of patent applications that name at least 1 woman on their team rose from 12% to 21% during the same period. Still, most female inventorship happens with a single woman on a male-dominated team.
  • Patent applicant teams with at least as many female inventors as males jumped from 3% to 8%.
  • At this rate, researchers don't anticipate hitting overall gender parity until at least 2070.

In the U.S., women make up about 10% of patent holders.

  • Per the study, Russia had the highest percentage — 18% — of female inventors of 10 countries analyzed, while France had 16%, Taiwan and China each had 13% and Canada came in at 10%.

Female applicants were 8.2% more likely to have patents rejected, and 2.5% less likely to appeal rejections, according to analysis by researchers at Yale University.

One level deeper: Female scientists are less than half as likely to receive a patent for their research, per a World Intellectual Property Oraganisation study, which may indicate females are less likely to consider commercializing their products and designs.

Go deeper

More women are becoming truck drivers amid industry labor shortage

A long-haul truck in Louisiana. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images

The American Trucking Association said the trucking industry saw a 68% increase in the number of female drivers from 2010 to 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the economy will need more truckers as the demand for goods increases. With the labor market continuing to tighten, employers are hiring from demographic groups that have not traditionally been associated with trucking.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

Joe Biden's campaign has a new strategy to win over female voters

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Joe Biden's presidential campaign is launching the "Women for Biden" group today in its latest effort to target specific voters ahead of the primaries next year.

Why it matters: Female voters and candidates helped Democrats win races at all levels across the country in the 2018 midterms. Biden's campaign is hoping to extend that trend into 2020 and highlight how he'd fight against "Trump's war on women," as the campaign put it.

Go deeperArrowOct 7, 2019

Pope weighs allowing female deacons and married priests in Amazon region

Pope Francis talks to bishops at the end of the closing session of the Synod on the Pan-Amazon region, Oct. 26, Vatican City. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti-Corbis/Corbis

Pope Francis announced that a study into ordaining female deacons would be reopened after a Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon voted for the move and to allow the ordination of married men as priests in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The overhaul of centuries of Catholic teachings on priests' celibacy and women's role in the church would address the issue of a priest shortage in the Amazon region, but many traditional conservatives are against such moves.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019