Closing the Gender Gap in IP: Looking at Good Practices
October 27, 2021
On October 12, 2021, WIPO held the third sharing session from the series dedicated to closing the gender gap in Intellectual Property (IP), titled “Looking at Good Practices”.
The session looked at good practices in IP service design, outreach and delivery, IP training and IP community’s culture presented by a range of IP stakeholders. They included representatives from a government institution; university; non-governmental organization and an IP practitioners’ association.
The session was opened by Ms. Binying Wang, Deputy Director General of WIPO’s Brands and Designs Sector, who highlighted that, despite the gradual improvement in the number of women inventors filing international patent applications, the gender gap in IP remains wide. Bridging this gap requires policy and programmatic solutions, put in place at multiple levels, simultaneously and synergistically. WIPO is contributing to this objective, collaborating with likeminded organizations across the globe.
Her Excellency Ms. Aurora Diaz-Rato Revuelta, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Office in Geneva, moderated the session and emphasized on the need to disseminate good practices widely in order to help inspire more action in this area.
Ms. ANEL VALENCIA CARMONA Deputy Director General for Support Services, Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) (slides)
Ms. Valencia presented the Network of women innovators, created by IMPI, to raise awareness on the participation of women in the IP system, give them visibility and make IP more accessible. The Network provides a digital community with podcasts and a blog that showcases women who have been successfully using IP. In order to create role models and encourage other women to use the IP system, IMPI provides information and resources and leads a mentorship program for women.
Ms. THURAYA SAUD AL-ALAWI Head, Intellectual Property Section, Innovation & Technology Transfer Center, Sultan Qaboos University (slides)
Ms. Al-Alawi discussed the success and impact of the Development Agenda (DA) project on Increasing the Role of Women in Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Oman, and the work carried out by the Innovation & Technology Transfer Center of the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). In particular, the presentation focused on different programs through which the Center disseminates knowledge on IP amongst women, such as through a series of specialized workshops on IP, summer schools, as well as active promotion and communication via social media. It also highlighted the efforts that the SQU and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Proportion in Oman are making in order to ensure a wider participation by women in STEM fields, through IP policy.
Ms. MUBIRU LILIAN NANTUME Founder & Managing Director, GSWIM (slides)
Ms. Nantume presented the inspiring story of Grooming a Successful Woman with Intellectual Mind (GSWIM), a Ugandan-based NGO which empowers women at the grassroots level to create, establish and develop successful businesses that use the IP system to create commercial value for their products. She emphasized the importance of empowering women with different business skills according to their interests and the needs of their communities, as well as of encouraging girls from a young age to be creative and innovative.
Ms. ANDREA BREWSTER OBE Lead Executive Officer, IP Inclusive (slides)
Ms. Brewster introduced the work of IP Inclusive, a UK-based group of IP professionals who work voluntarily to improve equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing in the world of IP. IP Inclusive is open for participation and involvement of all genders, and it provides a safe space for sharing ideas and experiences through events, trainings, lobbying and a mentorship scheme. In bridging the IP gender gap, IP Inclusive works based on the principle of “focusing less on the symptoms, and more on the underlining causes”.
A lively Q&A session concluded the event. Responding to a question about how gender equality work has been affected by Covid-19, the panelists agreed that, despite challenges, the pandemic increased inclusive practices through a hybrid working format and digital training sessions to women and men. In addition, the speakers considered awareness raising as the most important game-changing factor to bridge the gender gap in IP. This involves taking affirmative action plans and simplifying IP practices for underrepresented groups, including women.
The full session is available via Webcasting.
The sharing sessions on “Closing the Gender Gap in IP” are organized in response to a decision taken by the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at its 22nd session, and further endorsed by the WIPO General Assemblies. They are based on a proposal by Mexico, through which WIPO Member States acknowledged the importance of bridging the gender gap in intellectual property, and of increasing the participation of women in the IP ecosystems. The objective of these events is to share good practices, lessons learnt and research related to the gender gap in IP, in order to raise awareness and improve both policy and programmatic solutions to bridge it. The series will continue in 2022. Stay tuned!
If you would like to share a good practice in IP service delivery, design and/or analysis, please use the form available. Your good practices might be considered for future events.
- First sharing session on “Closing the Gender Gap in Intellectual Property – Mapping and Addressing Barriers”
- Second Sharing Session on “Closing the Gender Gap in IP: Exploring Multi-stakeholder Initiatives”
- DA Project on Increasing the Role of Women in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Encouraging Women in Developing Countries to Use the Intellectual Property System