WIPR Influential Women in IP 2019
Both shares have grown, but progress remains
slow, with shares increasing by 3.9% and 2.6% since
China dominates the field, with 19.3% of its PCT
patents naming a majority of female inventors and
14.7% of its patents naming only female inventors
in 2017. South Korea follows, although half of its
patent applications list at least one female inventor,
compared with China’s 48%.
“While it is encouraging that the percentage of
women inventors is increasing every year, we are still
far from reaching gender parity,” warns Gurry.
The gender gap reflects the fact that it’s a
numbers game—in most countries, far fewer girls
than boys study STEM subjects.
It’s even more difficult to measure women’s
contributions in other areas of IP, such as
trademarks and copyright, because of the limited
amount of data available.
Gurry adds: “More work is needed to ensure that
both men and women can equally access and use the
IP system and profit fully from their creative and
For the director general, encouragement of
innovation and creativity is at the heart of IP. These,
in turn, “stimulate improvements in our quality of
life, spur economic growth and address the radical
challenges we confront such as climate change,
clean energy, food security and health”.
In 2014, Gurry
first policy on
for how the
split between men and
women staff at WIPO
To tackle these radical challenges, we need the
benefit of all of humanity’s resources.
“Suboptimal” is the word Gurry uses to describe
the current levels of innovation and creativity
because of the deficit in the participation of women.
WIPO is now systematically tracking the
participation of women in innovation through the
international patent system, with the hope that this
facilitates awareness-raising and evidence-based
Within WIPO’s walls, its workforce represents 118
nationalities, with a 46:54 split between men and
women staff. But, much like law firms, the upper
echelons are dominated by men.
At director level, 69% of employees are men. The
ratio evens out at professional level, with men taking
up 51% of the workforce. Women make up the
majority (62%) of WIPO’s general service category.
The same seems to be true for job applications—
while women dominate the general service jobs,
there were more male applicants for director-level
roles (472 male and 135 female applicants).
Although there were almost equal applications
for the professional level category, the share of
applications submitted by women fell as the grades
Out of the professional and higher category
applications, WIPO appointed 25 women and 24
In 2014, Gurry launched WIPO’s first policy on
gender equality, providing a general framework for
how the organisation integrates a gender perspective
in its policies and programmes as well as in human
resources policies and procedures.
The policy is linked to the performance indicators
of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on
Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
(UN-SWAP), against which WIPO has reported each
year since 2012.
Gurry adds: “The policy brought about a
heightened awareness among WIPO staff about the
importance of gender equality in IP.”
This year, says Gurry, WIPO is conducting a joint
audit and evaluation exercise on the implementation
of the policy. The aim is to evaluate how the policy
has contributed to the organisation’s work towards
gender equality and what more needs to be done.
WIPO also subscribes to UN-SWAP, which was
launched in the latter part of 2017. Of 35 UN entities
which are being measured for achieving gender
parity in the professional and higher categories,
WIPO ranks among the top 10, according to 2016
data from UN Women.
Outside its own staff, WIPO promotes women’s
empowerment in IP through relevant training.
The WIPO Academy supported 32,000 women
in its distance learning programmes in 2017, more
TOP 5 COUNTRIES FOR:
Share (%) with only women inventors in
Israel Spain Australia
4.4% 4.2% 4.1%