During Women’s History Month, it’s important to take the time to honor women leaders who have paved the way for our present-day success. I also want to mark the occasion by looking forward to a time where women and men will share equally in STEM degrees and jobs – and in inventing.
Right now, women hold only 7.5 percent of all patents, and 5.5 percent of commercialized patents. Studies show that the reason for this disparity originates from the reality that few women are working in patent-intensive fields and jobs. As a result, too many inventive teams around the country are missing out on the benefits of a diverse workforce.
In order to increase the proportion of women who hold patents, we need to raise the numbers of women achieving degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I’m deeply passionate about this issue, and I speak to young girls around the country each year to encourage them to pursue their interests in these areas. When I meet these girls, I seek to bust the myth that women are anything but extraordinarily capable when it comes to STEM.
At Intellectual Ventures, we deeply appreciate the work of inventors, and believe that their ideas are valuable. And we have some amazing women who work on our teams. We’ve profiled a few of them recently, including Grace Huynh, an infectious disease specialist. We also work with Senior Inventor Muriel Ishikawa and her daughter, Victoria Wood. Some of Victoria’s 280 awarded patents to-date include inventions in the energy, transportation, human welfare, medical, healthcare, mining, imaging, and nuclear reactor sectors. Her mother holds 440 patents in many of the same areas, as well as in laser technology and applied nuclear chemistry. They share a common goal to improve the quality of human life.
We feature these women because their contributions are playing a key role in improving our world. I hope that their stories reach young women who are considering pursuing degrees and careers in STEM and encourage them to do the same.
As March draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to salute the women of the past and highlight our continued prioritization and support for the women of the future. When we empower girls and women around the world to pursue their dreams, the invention economy and all of humanity stand to benefit.