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Intellectual Property, Gender, and Diversity

Human innovation and creativity are the engines of progress. Since the beginning of time, innovators and creators from all walks of life have transformed our world through the power of their imagination and ingenuity. However, some groups remain severely under-represented in many areas of intellectual property (IP) use. Their innovative potential is underutilized at a time when we need the widest possible range of talents to solve the pressing problems facing humanity.

Innovation by women are changing the world. However, women remain underrepresented in international patenting.

WIPO publications on gender and diversity

To improve diversity in the use of IP for the good of everyone, everywhere, WIPO is guided by two documents.

IP and Gender Action Plan (IPGAP)

Our strategic plan for WIPO’s work through policy, data, and capacity-building initiatives to promote and advance women’s engagement in all aspects of IP, innovation, and creativity.

WIPO Policy on Gender Equality

Our overall guidance to ensure the equal participation of diverse women and men in both the innovation ecosystem and in the structures and organizations that support it.

The challenge – Insufficient data and persisting gender gaps

Disparities exist in the use of the IP system by women and other groups. WIPO is working to bridge them. According to WIPO data released in March 2024, it is estimated that only 17.7 percent of inventors named in international patent applications were women in 2023. While numbers are rising, progress is slow. WIPO estimates that, at current rates, parity among Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)-listed inventors will only be reached in 2077.

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Women’s participation in international patent applications in 2023

World Intellectual Property Day 2024

WIPO provides governments and stakeholders with data and policymaking tools to enhance national ecosystems for women and girls, delivering impactful activities promoting women's use of IP in innovation and creativity.

Join us in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day 2024! Explore how IP can amplify the impact of innovative and creative solutions for building our common future and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Initiatives at WIPO

We are working to mainstream gender equality considerations in all our activities and to increase the number of women who participate in the IP system by expanding knowledge and capacities. WIPO drives and participates in research on gender equality, diversity and IP and celebrates the ingenuity of inventors, creators and innovators from all groups.

Women and Tourism
(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the Gender Gap in IP: Women and the Sustainable Development Goals

Women and the SDGs

Webinar series: Closing the Gender Gap in IP series - Women in the Creative Industries

Women and Tourism
(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the Gender Gap in IP - Women and Tourism

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP - Looking at Good Practices

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP – Exploring Multi-stakeholder initiatives

(Image: WIPO)

Webinar series: Closing the gender gap in IP - Mapping and Addressing Barriers

Inspiring innovators

Find more inspiring innovators among our case studies and WIPO Magazine articles.

(Photo: KEYSTONE/dpa/Alexander Heinl)

Genetic scissors: at the cutting-edge of life

The gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, is one of the most important scientific developments so far this century. It was developed by Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna.

(Photo: María Paz Sanchez Amono)

From Tires to Tiles: An Inventor's Tale in Argentina

Sanchez Amono and her team of innovators are recycling old tires and plastic waste to create environmentally friendly roof tiles.

(Photo: Courtesy of Enda)

Enda: Kenya’s first home-grown running shoe

Entrepreneur Navalayo Osembo-Ombati set up a business making running shoes in Kenya, fulfilling her dream of building on Kenya’s rich sporting heritage while creating livelihood opportunities for local communities.

(Photo: Pernod-Ricard)

Smart agriculture – GPS and animal health

Imagine a GPS-based technology which monitors animals' movements to give farmers useful information about the health of their livestock. Uruguayan entrepreneur Victoria Alonsopérez developed just such a system.

Research and studies

  • Policy Approaches to Close the Intellectual Property Gender Gap - Practices to Support Access to the Intellectual Property System for Female Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
  • Challenges for Women Inventors and Innovators in Using the Intellectual Property System - A Literature Review PDF, Challenges for Women Inventors and Innovators in Using the Intellectual Property System - A Literature Review
  • Women and IP Commercialization in the Asian region: the case of the Philippines PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
  • Women and IP Commercialization in the Asian region: the case of Sri Lanka PDF, WIPO Policy on Gender Equality
Additional resources are available on WIPO's dedicated YouTube channel. Find also more case studies and WIPO Magazine articles on gender equality, diversity and inclusion.