11th of February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day recognises the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. It also reminds us why we need to make sure that science and engineering careers are considered a possibility for everyone, regardless of gender.
Current UNESCO data indicates that approximately 30% of all female students select science and engineering related subjects at university or college and fewer than 30% of researchers worldwide are women. In the face of these figures this day is an opportunity to place a focus on the accomplishments of women and girls in science, specifically women inventors – we are the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) after all!
Some of our female role models include :
- Polish-American Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar (RTM), a life-saving bullet-proof material she invented while looking for lighter material for car tyres;
- Mary Anderson, the American inventor of Windscreen wipers (US 743801), first adopted as standard by Cadillac and part of a gender equality debate on the Simpsons;
- Letitia Geer, the American inventor of the one-handed syringe (US 622848);
- Mandy Haberman, British inventor of the Anywayup Cup(bottle for feeding infants) which (RTM) (GB 2266045) famed in the Intellectual Property world for the Haberman case guidance on criteria for obviousness, and is also a non-executive on the steering board of the IPO.
On this day it’s also worth having a look at our award winning research publication “Gender profiles in worldwide patenting: An analysis of female inventorship (2019 edition)”.
But it doesn’t stop here. We continue to celebrate women and girls through our “Girls in STEM” day which will happen during April. We run these days with the aim of showing everyone who wants to be a scientist, that we don’t all wear white lab coats, and are people just like them. Thirty Year 7 girls from local schools will come to the IPO for a day to hear about why science (in this case chemistry) is important to everyday life. They will hear some inspirational stories about female inventors and get to make and test their own bath bombs.
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Comment by Emma Jardine posted on
It's great to see women in science being encouraged promoted and celebrated. It sometimes disappoints me though to hear so many people discussing the need to get women into STEM. I am a scientist, and a woman, I have a PhD and postdoc experience and I love science but currently not working in a science related role. I'd love to find ways to stay engaged in science through my work in the civil service. All advice welcome for how I can create opportunities to do this! Although getting young women interested in science is incredibly important, the reality is jobs/ funding opportunities are scarce.