Gender Equality, Diversity and Intellectual Property

Human innovation and creativity are the engines of progress. Since the beginning of time, female and male innovators and creators from all walks of life have transformed our world through the power of their imagination and ingenuity. However, some groups remain severely under-represented in many areas of intellectual property (IP) use. Their innovative potential is underutilized at a time when we need the widest possible range of talents is needed to solve the pressing problems facing humanity.

WIPO is committed to promoting gender equality and diversity - in the innovative and creative sectors, across the wider world of IP and within our own Organization. We work to systematically mainstream gender equality considerations across our work program, while generating and analyzing disaggregated and gender specific data, collaborating on capacity development, and strengthening and replicating good practices.

Find out more: WIPO Policy on Gender Equality PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality

Innovation by women are changing the world. However, women remain underrepresented in international patenting.

The challenge – Insufficient data and persisting gender gaps

Disparities exist on the use of the IP system by women and other groups. WIPO is working to bridge them. 2020 statistics reveal that only 16.5 percent of inventors named in international patent applications were women. While numbers are going in the right direction, progress is slow. WIPO estimates that, at the current pace, parity amongst PCT-listed inventors will only be reached in 2058.

Find out more

Women’s participation in international patent applications in 2021

Initiatives at WIPO

We are working to mainstream gender equality considerations in all our activities and to increase the number of women who participate in the IP system by expanding knowledge and capacities. WIPO drives and participates in research on gender equality, diversity and IP and celebrates the ingenuity of inventors, creators and innovators from all groups.  

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP - Looking at Good Practices

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP – Exploring Multi-stakeholder initiatives

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP - Mapping and Addressing Barriers

Inspiring innovators

Find more inspiring innovators among our case studies and WIPO Magazine articles.

(Photo: KEYSTONE/dpa/Alexander Heinl)

Genetic scissors: at the cutting-edge of life

The gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, is one of the most important scientific developments so far this century. It was developed by Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna.

(Photo: María Paz Sanchez Amono)

From Tires to Tiles: An Inventor's Tale in Argentina

Sanchez Amono and her team of innovators are recycling old tires and plastic waste to create environmentally friendly roof tiles.

(Photo: Courtesy of Enda)

Enda: Kenya’s first home-grown running shoe

Entrepreneur Navalayo Osembo-Ombati set up a business making running shoes in Kenya, fulfilling her dream of building on Kenya’s rich sporting heritage while creating livelihood opportunities for local communities.

(Photo: Pernod-Ricard)

Smart agriculture – GPS and animal health

Imagine a GPS-based technology which monitors animals' movements to give farmers useful information about the health of their livestock. Uruguayan entrepreneur Victoria Alonsopérez developed just such a system.

Research and studies

  • Policy Approaches to Close the Intellectual Property Gender Gap - Practices to Support Access to the Intellectual Property System for Female Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
  • Challenges for Women Inventors and Innovators in Using the Intellectual Property System - A Literature Review PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
  • Women and IP Commercialization in the Asian region: the case of the Philippines PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
  • Women and IP Commercialization in the Asian region: the case of Sri Lanka PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
Additional resources are available on WIPO's dedicated YouTube channel. Find also more case studies and WIPO Magazine articles on gender equality, diversity and inclusion.