Over the past 40 years, the number of women filing patents with the US Patent and Trade Office in the field of academia has risen dramatically and swiftly.
In an analysis run by Associate Professor, Cassidy Y Sugimoto at the School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington, 4.6 million utility patents issues between 1976 and 2013 were examined. The findings were that the patents frequently included multi-disciplinary collaborators and a rise of 2 to 3 percent across all areas, 10 percent in industry, 12 percent in individuals and 18 percent in academia. Sugimoto says “women are patenting at higher rates in academia compared to industry, government and individuals… we had thought it might fall lower since patenting is still considered’ optional’ in terms of promotion in academia…”
The downside is that the impact score of these patents – where the patent is cited in other filings, is still significantly below patent filings with male names attached and that the patent filings – regardless of area, came nowhere even close to the representation of women in science, technology, engineering and math even though women make up a third of all STEM field researchers.
It’s a question of whether women aren’t competing at the same level when it comes to patents or if we as women are pushing ourselves to self-promote as much as our male counterparts. It’s an inherent trait to stay humble in our successes but in order to push forward through to progress, we need to embrace the nature of self-promoting, to believe that our accomplishments are more valuable that we give them credit for.