The good news is that women’s share of patents in Germany has nearly quintupled since the 1980s. The bad: It’s still only ten percent.
When it comes to women’s participation in inventions, Germany is at the bottom of the list in Europe. According to the European Patent Office (EPO), only one in ten inventors named in German applications to the European Patent Office is a female. This is the third lowest value among the EPO participating countries for the period 2010 to 2019. Only in Liechtenstein and Austria is the percentage even lower.
In Europe, things could be done differently, for example in Latvia with 30.6 percent of women, Portugal (26.8 percent), Croatia (25.8 percent) and Spain (23.2 percent). France also, at 16.6 per cent, outperforms Germany and outperforms the European average of 13.2 per cent.
Internationally, China lags with 26.8% and South Korea with 28.3% behind Germany. At 15 percent, the United States fared much better. Only Japan is in the group of countries with the most patents with 9.5 percent behind the Federal Republic.
Northeastern front within Germany
Within Germany, the highest proportion of women is found in the north and east. The percentage of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was 16.5 percent, Hamburg 16.4 percent and Berlin 13.2 percent. By contrast, Baden-Württemberg (7.5), Bavaria (8.0) and Lower Saxony (8.4 percent) are below average.
According to EPA expert Ilja Rudyk, the technology mix also contributes to Germany’s poor performance. In the Federal Republic, he specializes in mechanical and electrical engineering. At 5.2 and 7.3 percent, respectively, these two areas have significantly lower than average proportions of women in patent applications across Europe. On the other hand, the technology field with the highest percentage of women is chemistry with 22.4 percent.
In addition, private companies in Germany have a higher than average proportion of patent applications – although the proportion of women is lower than in universities and public institutions. Even universities and public institutions in Germany perform below average: while the proportion of female inventors is 19.4% in Europe, it is only 13.7% in Germany.
The head of the European Patent Office, Antonio Campinos, said the study showed the gaps that must be filled “in order to exploit the full potential of female inventors in Europe”. “While some progress has been made over the past few decades, there is still more to be done to increase women’s participation in patenting.” Enhancing the role of women in science and innovation is a major challenge for Europe and a key factor for future viability and competitiveness. (dpa)
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