The patents Biomedical studies produced by exclusively female teams are more likely than those of exclusively male teams to solve problems that specifically or or in a greater proportion affect the women’s health.
This is the main conclusion of a study published this Thursday in Science after analyzing more than 440,000 patents biomedical institutions written between 1976 and 2010.
In the United States, women make up 35% of female scientists and 13% of female patent inventors
The work, carried out by three researchers from Harvard universities (USA), Navarre (Spain) and McGill (Canada), part of the documented premise that they are in a minority in the innovation system. In the United States, only 35% of scientists and 13% of patent inventors are women. To this we add the problem gender gap in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math), which places more obstacles to female talent than to male.
This dependence between biomedical patents created by women and the solutions they pose for the female population worries the authors of the work: if female inventors are scarce, society is being provided with very few inventions that benefit women, such as ovarian cancer test, personalized treatments of breast cancer and disposal procedures waterfalls, an eye problem more common in women than in men.
Graph A shows that the patents of teams made up of men pose more inventions for women than for men, which has an impact on the fact that in general more patents focused on men’s health are drawn up, as shown in graph C. / Koning et al./ Science
Thus, the results of the automatic analysis reflect that patents with exclusively female teams are 35% more likely than men to develop feminine health products. In addition, they calculate that it is a 18.5% more likely that teams with a majority of women develop inventions focused on them.
Researchers estimate that if there were gender parity in patent inventions, there should be about 6,500 more products focused on women’s health
Finally, they estimate that if there were gender parity Among patent inventors, there should be about 6,500 more products focused on women’s health. These findings, the researchers conclude, “suggest that the gender gap in patent writing is partially responsible for the disappearance of thousands of potential female-centered inventions since 1976.”
Loss of diversity
In a separate opinion piece, Fiona murray, Associate Dean for Innovation and Inclusion at the MIT Sloan School of Business Administration and Management (USA) and who has not participated in the research, warns of the dangers of raising an invention from a homogeneous group of men and how much It is difficult to lose female talent to the innovation system.
Different inventors will be able to ‘see’ the world in a unique way and connect knowledge that would otherwise be crazy
Fiona Murray, MIT Sloan School Associate Dean for Innovation and Inclusion
“This finding [en referencia al estudio] it highlights the problems (and solutions) that may be being overlooked in the current system ”, he values.
Murray also recalls that people with different life experiences – because of their gender, racial origin, socioeconomic background, nationality or education, to name a few – “may explore different problems and solutions from different points of view.” “Different inventors will be able to ‘see’ the world in a unique way and connect knowledge that would otherwise be crazy,” he concludes.
Koning, R. et al. “Who do we invent for? Patents by women focus more on women’s health, but few women get to invent ”. Science (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / science.aba6990.
Murray, F. “Mothers of invention.” Science (2021). DOI: doi / 10.1126 / science.abh3178.
Rights: Creative Commons.