Institute for Women’s Policy Research: Male Inventors are Three Times More Likely to Apply for Patents than Women
This post originally appeared on the Institute for Women’s Policy Research website on December 1, 2016.
A new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that, between 2000 and 2016, the number of patent applications with a man listed as the primary inventor was more than triple the number of applications with a woman listed first, but applications filed by women and men primary inventors were accepted at similar rates (67 and 73 percent, respectively). Because men are much more likely than women to apply for patents, male inventors are the vast majority of patent-holders: fewer than one in five of all patents have at least one woman inventor.
At the current rate of progress, IWPR projects that women inventors will not reach parity in patenting until 2092. Among women with at least a bachelor’s degree, Asian/Pacific Islander women are among the most likely to have applied for a patent in the past five years (0.9 percent), while White and Hispanic women are among the least likely (0.3 percent). Women across all races/ethnicities face a wide gender patenting gap: Application rates for white men are nine times higher than those of white women (2.7 percent compared with 0.3 percent), whereas Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander men have application rates that are five times higher than Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander women, respectively, and Black men have rates that are only 2.6 times higher than Black women.