Closing the Gender Gap in IP
May 21, 2021
On April 28, 2021, WIPO held the first of a series of sessions dedicated to women’s participation in the IP system. The series aim to:
- Raise awareness about the importance of bridging the gender innovation gap and increase participation by women and girls in the IP ecosystem;
- Promote the results of WIPO’s work in this area; and
- Bring together stakeholders from around the world to share their experience and practices in addressing the barriers faced by women and girls in accessing the IP system.
The series opened with a session on “Mapping and Addressing Barriers”, moderated by Her Excellency Patricia Benedetti, Ambassador of El Salvador to the World Trade Organization and WIPO. The session looked at the existing barriers that prevent women from using the IP system in greater numbers and with greater benefits. It also explored opportunities to foster women’s participation in innovation, based on research findings and case studies from Chile and South Korea.
The session was opened by Mr. Hasan Kleib, Deputy Director General of the Regional and National Development Sector at WIPO, who stressed that, despite improvements, significant gaps still persist. He stated that everyone has equally to lose from them, and it is important to work collaboratively to enable greater participation by women in the IP ecosystem.
The panelists highlighted some of the most common barriers that women face when they embark in their innovation and invention journey, such as:
- Lack of access to resources, including financial and knowledge resources;
- Under-representation of women in STEM fields, as well as other IP-related fields, that limit exposure to role models;
- Lack of understanding of the value of IP rights;
- Discrimination, bias, sexism, socio-cultural norms and expectations.
In addition, the limited availability of sex-disaggregated data and other gender-sensitive indicators hampers the ability of policy makers and IP practitioners to better understand the breadth and depth of the IP gender gap.
Panelists presented recommendations to help address these barriers, which included, for example, the adoption of a gender-sensitive policy for the IP Office (Chile), and the provision of targeted capacity building activities to women inventors (South Korea).
The full session is available via Webcasting.
The sessions series was developed within the framework of a decision taken by the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at its 22nd session held in November 2018, based on a proposal by Mexico.
Coming up next
Session on “Closing the Gender Gap in Intellectual Property – Exploring Multi-Stakeholder initiatives”, date to be announced soon.