Patents have been a hot topic lately in the news and in Washington, D.C., so it’s an opportune time as we celebrate National Inventor’s Day to step back and remember the people behind the patents. After all, each patent is more than just a legal document – it represents the hard work and ingenuity of some of our world’s brightest minds. Looking through the annals of invention history, though, it’s clear that society is missing out. There is no shortage of problems to solve through invention, but women are underrepresented in the effort.
Exceptions include Hedy Lamarr and Ada Lovelace, but invention has been largely a male endeavor throughout history. It’s not hard to see why. Girls face pressure that says it isn’t cool to be smart and that they aren’t as good as their male peers at science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) – the cornerstones of modern invention. As the mother of a 14-year-old daughter, I’ve seen first-hand how some of these influences can play out. When we overcome them, we’re unlocking half of the world’s inventive brainpower.