Reflections on Why it is Important to Encourage Women to Engage in Innovation and Creativity

Marie Fareeda Ali

Marie Fareeda Ali comes from the Caribbean island-state of Trinidad and Tobago. She founded her own company ten years ago.

Picture of Fareeda Ali
(Photo: Courtesy of MS. Ali)

If you have good ideas and want to go a step further to make your dreams a reality, keep working on your designs even if it's for only five minutes a day. Stay passionate about your work and be sure to visit your national IP Office.

They will assist you and provide you with sound guidance to see you through. Hang in there! Success comes in small doses and with continued work. I am proof of that. My wish today is to encourage and inspire you to dream bigger, be creative and do your research.

Marie Fareeda Ali

Valentina Araujo

Valentina Araujo is a Venezuelan artist, photographer and jeweler.

Throughout history, women have striven to be recognized in different spheres of life and society is yet to accept and overcome many situations. Gender difference should be taken as an advantage, as women are able to see and do things from a different perspective than men, and therein lies the great wealth of our potential contribution to innovation and creation.

Looking at reality from a different perspective from that of men highlights new nuances that, when brought together, will generate results that are better suited to the attainment of a more humane, diverse, multicultural, inclusive and tolerant society. Art is a universal language that can be interpreted by everyone regardless of age, nationality, culture or gender; each person can make his or her own interpretation.

But, equally important is working, preparing and dedicating oneself to art, because it is a language that requires practice, tools to express oneself, to say, to speak and to transmit. When you create, it's not only your imagination that takes flight; what you create allows others to experience their own sensations, just by looking at your work of art, that is, talent accompanied by a lot of effort and work to obtain the result you dream of.

Valentina Araujo
Picture of Valentina Araujo
"Caída Libre", by Valentina Araujo

Elma Arboleras

Elma Arboleras is a co-inventor of a patent-protected traffic management system called iBus (Intelligent Bus Utility System). iBus is a user-friendly and efficient way to track and record the daily operations of busses. It is an invaluable tool for tackling congestion, reducing pollution and helping to establish sustainable public transport systems for cities across the world.

We need to ask how can we be of service to our neighbors? How can we make this world a better place? Since the beginning of time women have played and continue to play an important role in answering these questions. Women are natural innovators, even if their contributions are not always as widely recognized globally as perhaps they should be.

Innovation starts with a dream, but you have to keep going. Reach your goal not just for yourself but for humankind!

Elma Arboleras
Picture of Elma Arboleras
(Photo: Courtesy of Elma Arboleras)

Dora Esther Bassani

Dora Esther Bassani is an Argentinean professor of educational psychology and former President of the NGO “Identidad”.

Picture of Dora Esther Bassani
(Photo: Dora Esther Bassani)

I understand that to be, to participate and to generate improvements and changes in this world of today requires strength, perseverance, knowledge, decision making, action and reaction in your environment. Therefore, the more women who decide to get involved and assume this attitude, the better the chances of change and growth, both personally and in other areas. Being creative, original, objective, responsible, persistent and decisive are important attitudes in response to the demands of today's world.

Women have an advantage....the changes that we go through during the cycle of life prepare us to go down the path of continuous adaptation, naturally developing the ability to create, to be original, sensitive, capable, and strong... we ourselves must recognize that we have all this asset and be encouraged to face the challenge.

Dora Esther Bassani

Betsy Beaumon

Betsy Beaumon is President of Benetech, a non-profit organization that empowers communities with software for social good.

I am excited to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day 2018. We believe in inclusive access to the world’s information. Through our Bookshare Accessible Library we are able to provide access to materials for education and employment for over half a million people around the world.

We have been able to accomplish this because of visionary copyright exceptions for people with print disabilities and strong relationships with publishers underpinned by copyright law. Now we expect to serve millions worldwide with the support of the Marrakesh Treaty for the World Intellectual Property Organization

Betsy Beaumon
Picture of Betsy Beaumon
(Photo: Benetech)

Laynie Browne

Laynie Browne is the author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her most recent collections of poems include You Envelop Me, P R A C T I C E and Scorpyn Odes.

Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship, a National Poetry Series Award for The Scented Fox (2007), a Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Drawing the Swan Before Memory (2004). Her work has been translated into Chinese, Catalan, French and Spanish. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.

As a writer, educator, editor and curator with a long history of outreach to various communities, including artists, students, adults, and particularly women (as a mentor for the Afghan Women Writers Project), I have always believed in creativity as an essential path to greater awareness and healing for our world. The voice of each girl and woman is extremely important. Poetry and language belong to everyone. Your unique vision is much needed in the world

Laynie Browne

Brindusa Burrows

Brindusa Burrows, is Founder and CEO of The Ground_Up Project, a deal-sourcing platform for impact businesses all around the world, looking for funding of under USD 20 million.

In a world where green innovation happens sometimes far from the investors' eyes, it is important to offer entrepreneurs a better understanding of what they are looking for and how the process of investment really happens. We fill this important gap between entrepreneurs and investors via and

We have seen many women-entrepreneurs developing technology or technology-based innovation that has the potential to change the game in water and sanitation, energy, consumer products and so on. On the investment side too, we see more and more funds and investors focused on women-entrepreneurs in the green technology space. So if you want to make the world a better place and succeed as an entrepreneur, green technology is definitely an area for women to get involved with.

IP is a key ingredient in raising funds for a technology enterprise. It brings value to any technology business and it is an asset that investors are attracted to. As such, IP encapsulates much more than just protection of a certain invention, technology, process and so on. In the long run, it is an asset that grows in value for the entrepreneur who owns it.

We can be whatever we set our minds to be. Let's jump on every opportunity to make the world a better place for us and for future generations. Let's have fun bringing to life all the tremendous potential that is in us.

Brindusa Burrows
Picture of Brindusa Burrows
(Photo: The Ground_Up Project)

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova, Former Director General of UNESCO

Science is a vocation that begins with a dream, with an aspiration. Today, too many girls are not encouraged to follow this dream. I am thinking about the millions of girls and young women whose talent to innovate and to create is lost as they are excluded from schooling and learning because of poverty, gender based bias and discrimination.

The Sustainable Development Goals call upon every society to harness scientific talent and the talent to innovate and to create to find solutions – to improve health, nutrition, resource management, environmental protection…

I see the face of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a face of a young girl -- in safe school, not forced into marriage or work, empowered to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics – supported by her family and community to become everything she dreams … an engineer, a researcher, a medical doctor, a writer.

Without this, no society will prosper.

This international Day is an opportunity to say again - let’s Crack the Code and push for investment in the talent and creativity of women and girls!

Irina Bokova
Picture of Irina Bokova
(Photo: Irina Bokova)

Manuela Cirilli

Manuela Cirilli is Head of Medical Applications in the Knowledge Transfer Group at CERN

I have been working at CERN, the largest particle-physics laboratory in the world, for twenty years: first as an experimental physicist, and then in the Knowledge Transfer group.

We have to promote careers in science, encourage women and, most importantly, show that when women are selected, it’s because they deserve it. I firmly believe that giving up on having more women in science and technology means giving up on a part of the diversity that is key to creativity and innovation

CERN is a place that has always been a trailblazer in technologies related to accelerators, detectors, and computing. I have been lucky enough to witness first-hand how scientific experiments drive technological innovations, and to be now working on transferring our innovations to society, namely into medical applications.

CERN’s policy is to disseminate its technologies as widely as possible to industrial and institutional partners within its Member States, with a spirit of openness. All LHC publications are published under Open Access conditions, and Open Source licenses are also used to release software and hardware. CERN also contributes to many open source projects, small and large, that promote collaboration within the community in the larger sense, not only the scientific world. Intellectual property lies at the core of successful knowledge transfer at CERN. It enables CERN to claim being at the origin of a novel technology, making it possible to share its knowledge to reach society.

CERN is a safe harbor for collaborative science projects, leaving gender, race, politics at the door. That is one of the sources of its success.

When I came to CERN as a PhD student, I was amazed to see what people can achieve when they set aside all differences and work together on a common scientific goal. But I realized that women are still a minority in laboratories, especially in positions of responsibility.

I have been working with schools for a long time, promoting science among young people, boys and girls alike. My advice is always: do what interests you, follow your dreams - you won’t regret it.

Manuela Cirilli
Picture of Manuela Cirilli
(Photo: CERN)

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir is Director General of the Icelandic Patent Office.

Iceland has an abundance of female scientists, inventors, designers and artist that are tackling some of the world’s most complex problems through innovation and intellectual property.

Women’s participation in innovation is vital for society and it fills me with pride to see so many promising innovators coming from Iceland.

I am proud to see their hunger for solutions, progress and success. I believe they will inspire the next generation of innovators and instill in them the belief that they have the skills, ideas and ingenuity necessary to change the world for the better.

The boundless potential of innovation and intellectual property cannot be achieved without the participation of women and girls around the world.

I encourage all young women and girls to make a difference in the world by creating, inventing, innovating, and researching and developing their ideas and using the IP system to turn them into assets.

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir
Picture of Borghildur Erlingsdóttir
(Photo: Borghildur Erlingsdóttir)

Monica Ferro

Monica Ferro is the Director of the UNFPA Geneva Office.

In UNFPA we truly believe that women and girls should also be in the driver’s seat for innovation.

If you empower them by securing their access to health, participation, education, technology and science, you will be able to unleash their potential for creativity and tap into an unending source of economic and social benefits that will fulfill the 2030 Agenda and leave no one behind.

Monica Ferro
Picture of Monica Ferro
(Photo: Monica Ferro)

Mónica Inés Garcia Lois

Mónica Inés Garcia Lois is an educator, a therapist, and an artist working in different art forms, including music, dance, and a little known decorative method using eggshells called “realeggza”.

Since creativity pulsates within all human beings as a vital force that leads them to undertake different challenges, I believe that this same force is part of our nature as women. So our imagination, creation, passion and perseverance lead us to conquer our most cherished dreams.

When authors are aware of the protection that the law provides for the works they create, it allows them to exhibit the works, obtain a commercial return, reproduce them in any medium and even authorize others to do so.

This allows unauthorized persons to exercise these rights. Thus, the benefit of this valuable tool is that it allowed me to make my creations, which I was able to capture in the book I wrote, known to the world.

Dear women, the most precious thing we have is the capacity for unconditional love and the possibility of generating strong bonds of unity, which are necessary to enrich everything around us. Let’s walk together for a better world!

Mónica Inés Garcia Lois
Picture of Mónica Inés Garcia Lois
(Photo: Mónica Inés Garcia Lois)

Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira Gupta, systems designer at the International IP Commercialization Council (IIPCC), a global non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides a platform for the innovator and entrepreneur communities and enterprises to increase their understanding of IP to unleash their creative and innovative potential.

Picture of Ruchira Gupta
(Photo: Ruchira Gupta)

Ruchira has been instrumental in developing IIPCC’s IKR system to help developers and creators protect their trade secrets, creations and inventions.

Women of all ages and of different cultures bring important perspectives and outlooks to the technologies and applications of technology to solve Earth's many challenges. Their input to the design and application of green technologies can be critical to their widespread acceptance, adoptions and success. And this ultimately benefits all of us.

IP has helped me understand the value of my contributions and ensure that I am recognized for my work.

Ruchira Gupta

Mónica Maffía

Mónica Maffía is an Argentinean theater and opera director, translator and dramaturge.

I wanted to talk to other women about intellectual property, which is both a human right and a strategic, economic asset. It's not just that a work of ours is forgotten and nobody knows about it. Our work is a necessity for the economy and we must register it and protect our rights because a nation's cultural heritage increases with our contribution. Plus, the economy also benefits. Why? Because they need to innovate, they need new ideas, they need to develop projects in disruptive ways so that they yield other results. So our creativity is very important. Let us defend our rights because, in addition, the moral right over our creations does not expire and cannot be surrendered. Thank you.

Mónica Maffía
Picture of Mónica Maffía
(Photo: Mónica Maffía)

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe is a Zambian biotechnologist and inventor of a portable water purification system that utilizes Moringa and biomaterials.

For the ladies and young girls out there that want to endeavor into science and technology, please be not discouraged: You can be the change that you want to see, and also do not let society force limitations on your ability as a woman and as a young lady.

Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe
Picture of MGezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe
(Photo: Gezile Petronella Mbewe-Chalwe)

Dolly Nicholas

Dolly Nicholas is from Trinidad and Tobago and makes her living doing innovation in heavy oil, tar sands and asphalt. A key part of her work involves addressing the environmental issues associated with the tar sand and heavy oil industries.

I find my work particularly rewarding as it allows me to find solutions to real world problems in creative, cost-effective ways.

Women make up half the workforce but are still very much underrepresented in innovation and science. This is to the detriment of the scientific community as it means we are not gaining the insight and input from a large proportion of the population.

Diversity in individuals (different backgrounds, cultures, race, gender, etc.) means diversity in thought, which leads to innovative new ideas. Diversity is therefore great for innovation.

I strongly believe that we need to teach our girls how to think innovatively and how to solve problems creatively. This needs to start at the primary and secondary school level if we are ever to have as many women in science as men.

It is extremely important for all researchers to understand the value of intellectual property (IP), particularly in terms of getting their idea or invention to market. With IP a researcher can pursue commercial exploitation of her idea or invention, and can be confident that it is protected and won’t be stolen by competitors. Intellectual property represents something tangible that can be sold or licensed.

Patents have been valuable to me as they help highlight the novelty of my work (an inventive step is a prerequisite to acquire a patent) to the outside world, while also assuring potential investors that they are investing in something that is protected.

My advice? Work hard and believe in yourself. Don’t let others dissuade you, focus on your goals and work towards them. And always remember to help and support other up-and-coming female scientists.

Dolly Nicholas
Picture of Dolly Nicholas
(Photo: Dolly Nicholas)

Justus Nwaoga

Justus Nwaoga is responsible for developing the Mimosa Weed Renewable Green Energy Endeavor.

With one or two notable expressions, women are massively underrepresented in the natural science compared to their male peers. We need to encourage more girls and women to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects so they can tackle present and future product manufacturing challenges.

Women are advocates of a clean environment and social well-being. Keeping the earth safe is a burning issue. We need to encourage more women to develop green products that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.

I encourage women to come out and compete with the men folk, to be bold in their green research and product development ventures and to defend their products by using the patent system.

Justus Nwaoga
Picture of Justus Nwaoga
(Photo: Justus Nwaoga)

Tina Olivares

Tina Olivares is a Spanish film director and screenwriter with a long career, who has also founded a Cinema School in Madrid with the support of SGAE, Spain’s Copyright Collective Management Organization.

Intellectual property rights are important because we are becoming more and more creative. The planet is becoming a planet of creators and yet it is not easy to live from our creations.

For that reason, I think it is important to make everyone understand that culture is not free, it cannot be free because behind culture, there are artists who need to live from their work.

Women, we have to believe in ourselves. We have to trust each other. That's the message I want to give you. You are able. You're important for what you're after.

Tina Olivares
Picture of Tina Olivares
(Photo: Tony Madrid. Courtesy of Tina Olivares)

Carmen Peralta

Carmen Peralta is a Spanish film director and screenwriter who recently joined the world of cinema winning many accolades for "You are You", a story about the opportunities that life sometimes offers us to regain our self-confidence.

I consider it very important for women to participate in the process of innovation and creativity, as they are fundamental drivers of economic, social and cultural development.

Serious creativity is the ability of the human being to respond to situations or problems that may arise and is closely related to economic development because it facilitates innovation and research.

I think it is important to be aware of the importance of intellectual property because it is a means of promoting economic development and generating social, cultural and economic benefits. Works, such as films, that are protected by copyright can become a source of income so I would like to convey to women and girls the same message that was conveyed in the short film I made.

It is a message with words that are as simple as they are essential.  "You are you". At some point, someone says to the protagonist "You are you"; in the world, there is no one like you. I said that nobody is exactly like you; that already makes you very important. Love of self and self-esteem are the spring from which all other forms of love flow.

Carmen Peralta
Picture of Carmen Peralta
(Photo: Carmen Peralta)

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón

Glòria Pérez-Salmerón is President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for the period 2017-2019.

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón
(Photo: Gloria Pérez-Salmerón)

World Intellectual Property Day is a chance to underline the importance of creativity and innovation for our economies, our societies. Today, as much as ever, we cannot do without this. If we stand still, we lose ground. Moreover, as all the UN Member States promise, we cannot leave anyone behind.

That’s why the theme WIPO has chosen for this year’s World Intellectual Property Day, “Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity”, resounds so much with libraries. They are trusted, safer spaces, free from social pressure, free from financial barriers and with a dedicated staff and support. I’m proud to be working with WIPO, to build understanding of how intellectual property laws and practices can facilitate this role.

Together we can provide equitable access to knowledge. That means that tomorrow everyone can realize their innovative and creative potential. Together, we can be motors of change.

Gloria Pérez-Salmerón

Jurgenne H. Primavera

Jurgenne H. Primavera is a scientist and environmentalist from the Philippines.

For the last 40 years she has been a tireless champion of sustainable aquaculture and mangrove conservation and rehabilitation.

Jurgenne Primavera is a true heroine of the environment. In 2008, she was named one of (thirty) Heroes [and Heroines] of the Environment by TIME Magazine, which wrote that Jurgenne and company “… remind us that in the face of human creativity and will, no challenge is too great, and no battle unwinnable – if only we’ll fight.”

Picture of Jurgenne H. Primavera
(Photo: Jurgenne Primavera)

Jurgenne Primavera has authored numerous scientific publications and in her retirement she is now pursuing her dream to establish a Biodiversity Garden. The garden hosts a range of native trees, many of which are near extinction. Her nursey is yielding seeds and seedlings of future Mother Trees, which she shares with others to ensure a sustainable tomorrow for future generations of Filipinos.

Through her work, she has put the Philippines on the regional and international mangrove Chief Mangrove Scientific Advisor of the Zoological Society of London and Member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee on Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program and the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment.

I come from a family and clan of strong females, growing up with the freedom to pursue my dreams, undeterred by social structures and limited means. I realize that this is an exception in many cultures. But as someone once said, people make cultures.

I encourage women and young girls – mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters – to actively shape their cultures so that they can take up their rightful and equal place beside men. Nowhere is this more urgent than in science where the largely untapped creativity and intelligence of women can make all the difference in creating a better, safer, healthier and gentler world.

Jurgenne H. Primavera

Diandra Ragoo

Diandra Ragoo is a biomedical engineer from Trinidad and Tobago. She recently created and patented a discrete, non-invasive urinary device that allows women to relieve themselves while on-the-go. It is easy to use, alleviates any pain and discomfort and prevents potential bladder and kidney infections.

Picture of Diandra Ragoo
(Photo: Diandra Ragoo)

Women play essential roles in the economy by transforming their visionary ideas into unique products and services.

Innovation and creativity are key factors in our empowerment and gender equality. Allowing us to be involved in innovation and creativity contributes to equal rights. As a result, discrimination is minimized, poverty reduced, employment opportunities increase and our voices are heard.

The more women innovate and create, the more they inspire and motivate other women to innovate and create.

As a woman, believe in yourself. We have already claimed our space in this ever-changing world of innovation and creativity, so never allow fear or negativity to silent your power and abilities.

Diandra Ragoo

Geneviève Ricard

Geneviève Ricard, Canadian artist.

I am first and foremost a wife and mother of four children. I am also an artist, collage being my medium of choice. My womanhood is at the very heart of my creation and has allowed me, over the years, to proudly invent myself.

Today, women are innovative models who, thanks to their experience, are a breath of fresh air for creation. My art, being the fruit of my individualism and this unique experience, can only belong to me and must be protected.

To those who aspire to a life as an artist, do not forget that the creative soul has no choice but to succumb to its temptation...

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” – Harriet Tubman

Geneviève Ricard
Picture of Geneviève Ricard
"Eaux dormantes", by Geneviève Ricard

Ndandula Siamana

Ndandula Siamana is Deputy Commander of Zambia Police (Southern Region). She is powering change and defending the rights and interests of Zambia’s inventors and creators by developing new ways to tackle intellectual property theft.

Ndandula Siamana is at the forefront of efforts to encourage the use of holographic technology to enable consumers to distinguish between genuine and fake goods.

I encourage all female inventors to actively take the lead in technological inventions and innovations. Let us empower ourselves by getting involved in intellectual property and innovation for socio-economic development and sustainable growth in our respective countries!

Ndandula Siamana
Picture of dandula Siamana
(Photo: Ndandula Siamama)

Alexandra Sonntag

Alexandra Sonntag is a painter from Germany.

Art has a direct impact on the development of our personality and wellbeing. It can make and keep you happy. It is also, and especially for women, an indicator of individual freedom. Only in open and free societies do women have the opportunity to express themselves without any obstacles or taboos.

But being a professional artist is risky and often not at all lucrative. Any source of income for artists is important. A clear and transparent system of intellectual property rights which favors those who create is essential. If art is to be more than just a hobby in the future, artists need to be fairly or better remunerated.

It’s hard to make a living or even to be recognized as an artist, especially when you’re female, but just do it. Do it anyway! It’s fun and it’s freedom. It makes you stronger. For me painting means most of all communicating – with others, with myself.

Alexandra Sonntag
Picture of Alexandra Sonntag
"Entlebuch", by Alexandra Sonntag

Marina Vargas

Marina Vargas is a Spanish artist. Her works have been on show in Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United States. She is a passionate supporter of women’s rights and women in the art world. She is also an active member of La Caja de Pandora movement in Spain which fights for greater recognition of women artists against sexual harassment.

Picture of Marina Vargas
(Photo: Marina Vargas)

Marian Villa

Marian Villa is a graphic designer, digital journalist and digital entrepreneur.

Her company, eversocial, based in Colombia, focuses on the development of high quality digital products. She is also at the forefront of Colombia’s largest tech community for women.

I love teaching and learning about technology. That is why I co-created a community initiative called Pioneras Developers, which has become the largest tech community in Colombia for women in tech.

Brand protection and licensing of software are important because they protect those of us who create content and who are part of the so-called orange economy in a global and highly competitive market.

More and more girls are creating ideas, products and content. And they are leaders within their work teams. As women we have a duty to be part of change, for ourselves and for future generations.

Marian Villa
Picture of Marian Vlla
(Photo: Marian Villa)