Opinions and Editorials

Apr. 18, 2023

Fortune: To understand why America’s lead in tech and innovation is eroding, look at China’s investment in women inventors by Holly Fechner

In the race for global technology leadership, China understands that it needs more inventors to compete with the United States and has worked systematically to expand its capacity to innovate. That’s why China is eating America’s lunch on a critical measure of technological capacity: women inventors.

A new World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) study of international patent applications found that from 2001 to 2005 and 2016 to 2020, China grew its capacity of women inventors at almost double the rate of the U.S.–42% in China compared to 22% in the U.S. To continue outpacing China in cutting-edge technologies so, as President Biden vowed in his State of the Union, “they’re not used against us,” the United States must access all available talent by changing the culture around invention and expanding its pipeline of inventors.

Our elected officials already know the risks of letting other countries out-innovate us. In a rare and powerful show of bipartisanship, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act last summer to bolster U.S. innovation in next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence, clean energy, 5G, and other advanced technologies to make sure American innovators can keep up with China by not only maintaining American leadership in these areas but also by inventing the next breakthrough technologies.

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