Message from WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry on International Women’s Day 2020
March 8, 2020
It’s a great privilege to have this opportunity to say a few words on this extremely important occasion of International Women’s Day. And the theme this year, as you are all aware, is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”
When we look at the field of innovation, I am not “Generation Equality.” In fact, the situation is quite shameful when we see the participation of women in the extremely important activity of innovation. It’s extremely important because innovation gives…is the means of obtaining competitiveness on the part of enterprises, industries and countries. It’s the means by which we address the major social challenges that we face as a society, such as climate change, doing things in a different way and in a better way.
We maintain statistics at the World Intellectual Property Organization on the participation of women amongst all inventors of international patent applications – international patent applications, which are considered to be the best patent applications really worldwide, the best inventions worldwide. Now the story there is, unfortunately, as I said, quite a shameful one. In 1995, only 9.5 percent of all of the inventors named in international patent applications were women. Ten years later, in 2005, it had become 11.8 percent. And in some another 10 or 14 years later, in 2019, it had become 18.7 percent. Now, that’s a very positive trend, but frankly, 18.7 percent means that we are missing out on a huge range of talent which could be put at the dis…at the disposal of humanity for developing solutions to all of our social problems as well as increasing competitiveness.
So, I assure you that the World Intellectual Property Organization is very focused on this question and we want to ensure that it really is “Generation Equality” in this exceptionally important field of innovation.