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Closing The Gender Gap In IP: Women In The Creative Industries

October 13, 2023

How can IP help women’s contribution to the creative industries? Our virtual sharing session, held on October 12, 2023, explores the answers. Through practical examples from the fields of cartoons, filmmaking, authorship, and technology, women panelists from Pakistan, Kenya, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Hungary share their professional experiences in the creative industries, highlighting what the role of IP was along the way.

(photo: wipo)

A virtual sharing session on Women in the Creative Industries took place on October 12, 2023. The session was opened by Ms. Sylvie Forbin, the Deputy Director General of the Copyright and Creative Industries Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), who underlined the significant impact of the creative economy on women, emphasizing their predominant presence in the workforce and the necessity to address the gender inequality. Ms. Forbin also mentioned the complexities of gender disparities in the creative industries, especially for authors of creative works. WIPO is contributing to closing the gender gap in IP, by adopting the IP and Gender Action Plan (the “IPGAP”), which provides a strategic direction for WIPO’s work to lead the development of an IP ecosystem that promotes and encourages women’s engagement in IP and innovation.

The session was moderated by Her Excellency Francisca Elizabeth Méndez Escobar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva. Ambassador Méndez Escobar reiterated the considerable contribution of women to the creative industries and emphasized the need to disseminate practical experiences widely to help to inspire more women to discover the value of IP rights in the sector.

The session featured women in the creative industries from Pakistan, Kenya, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Hungary, who shared diverse and inspirational experiences in the creative industries, highlighting what the role of IP was along the way.

Panelists included:

Through their creative works, such as cartoons, technology tools, books, films, the panelists highlighted how copyright and related rights can be used to support the growth of creative‑related businesses and to encourage women’s participation in and contribution to the sector. In particular, the presentation of the panelists focused on:

  • the power of art for social change, from messages on public buses to puppet shows addressing traumatized children, cancer patients, and earthquake survivors. Examples of socially impactful cartoons (slides).
  • Ushahidi, a global non‑profit technology company, and how it helps communities to quickly collect and share information that enables to raise voices, inform decisions and make impact on the ground (slides).
  • the self-published book “Lifting the Weight of Miscarriage: Healing Insights on Pregnancy Loss for Sufferers and the People Around Us”, which chronicles the first six months after her loss and seeks to offer helpful insight to help other pregnancy loss sufferers and the people around them to navigate the experience with more compassion and healing (slides).
  • the importance of empowering women and promoting women’s perspectives through storytelling in the film industry.

Presentations of the panelists were followed by a lively Q&A session, addressing questions from the audience. The event was concluded by closing remarks delivered by Ms. Kristine Schlegelmilch, the Senior Advisor for IP and Gender at the WIPO. Ms. Schlegelmilch mentioned the role of creative industries in driving positive change and inclusivity, while highlighting persistent challenges, such as lower wages and underrepresentation of women in leadership roles. She emphasized that the gender gap is a collective challenge, and its resolution is crucial for fostering diversity and innovation in the IP ecosystem. She highlighted WIPO’s commitment to addressing this gap and promoting and encouraging women’s participation in the IP system through the IP and Gender Action Plan.

This webinar is part of the series of sessions aiming to close the gender gap in IP, organized following a decision by the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP).

The full session is available via Webcasting in English, French and Spanish. The series will continue. Stay tuned!

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