Women Make Strides As Inventors

According to The Patent and Trademark Office, the number of women receiving patents for their inventions rose from 2.6% in 1977 to 9.2% in 1996.

While women still lag far behind men, the recent increase is substantial. Women fared especially well in the field of chemical technology, where they claimed 15.7% of all patents issued. Inventor’s Digest publisher Joanne Hayes-Rines said that increases in the field of chemical technology constituted a large portion of the overall increase. While women are still more likely than men to win patents for personal care and household inventions, they have also made inroads into male-dominated industries.

Hayes-Rines also stated that increased access to financial resources and jobs in scientific industries has made a big difference for women. “They’re taken more seriously by banks when they need a loan, more seriously by manufacturers when they want to get a product made,” said Hayes-Rines. She also said that women benefitted from the feminist movement and from the creation of new industries like biotechnology where “old boys networks” either don’t exist or remain weak.


New York Times - March 15, 1999

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