Gender Equality and Intellectual Property

Men and women are equally creative and innovative. Yet, women remain under-represented in many areas.

WIPO is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment both within the Organization and in the wider world of intellectual property (IP).

WIPO's Policy on Gender Equality PDF, WIPO's Policy on Gender Equality, adopted in 2014, aims to provide a general framework for how the Organization aims to integrate a gender perspective in its policies and programs.

Video: Message from WIPO DG Gurry on International Women’s Day

Video: The number of women filing patent applications is steadily rising.

The challenge: Gender gaps and insufficient data

Despite general improvements in gender equality around the world, gender gaps in patenting, in particular, persist. WIPO’s latest data show that just 30.5% of the international patent applications filed via the Organization included at least one women inventor.

While it is encouraging that the number of PCT applications with at least one woman inventor has nearly doubled since 2007, gender parity remains a distant prospect.  Assuming that the trend continues, the numbers are expected to balance out only in 2076.

Furthermore, only limited data is available with which to measure women’s contributions in other areas of intellectual property, such as trademarks and copyright. As such, more work is needed to ensure that both men and women can equally access and use the IP system and profit fully from their creative and innovative assets.

Do patents have gender?

Over the past several decades, gender studies have influenced numerous areas of law, often illuminating hidden biases that had gone unappreciated. This research paper discusses gender issues in patent law, relating patents to the previous literature on law and gender, and suggesting potential ways forward for equitable systems of innovation and creativity.



Indigenous women of Panama

The indigenous women of Panama are adept at turning their traditional knowledge into an IP asset.


Founder of Indonesia's "JAVARA", takes brand global

Meet Indonesian businesswoman Helianti Hilman, whose strong trademark strategy is helping promote her "Javara" brand of Indonesian food biodiversity products in overseas markets.


(Photo: WIPO)

Women in IP

A collection of photos featuring women active in the world of IP. From staff, to delegates, visitors, and more.  Photos on Flickr.

Stories from the field

A selection of content on the theme of role models, gender equality, women’s empowerment and IP. Find more case studies and WIPO Magazine articles on the topic.

(Photo: m2m)

How a good name can save lives

Trademarks and savvy branding helped this South African NGO to get closer to its goal of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDs.

(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.

(Photo: Flickr/WWEF)

Treading a new path for IP and development in Africa

Find out how one of Ethiopia's top female entrepreneurs co-founded footwear brand soleRebels and helped steer it to global success.

(Image: Flickr/Senorhorst Jahnsen)

Pappadums and the path to empowerment

Discover a successful cooperative established by Indian women that has developed a unique model for the development and empowerment of low-income female workers.

Initiatives at WIPO

Frequently in cooperation with national IP offices and other partners, WIPO organizes informational and capacity building events that focus on the creativity and innovation potential of women:

Geneva Gender Champions Network logo
(Image: Geneva Gender Champions Network)

International Gender Champions

WIPO is proud to be part of the International Gender Champions Network, which brings together committed leaders to serve as champions for gender equality.