But there’s still a wide gender gap in patent filings.
So much for the “mother” of invention.
There’s a gaping gender gap in U.S. patents filed each year, with just 8% of them counting a woman as the primary inventor, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Worse, they predict that women won’t close this patenting gap for another 75 years, which brings us to 2092.
The IWPR links the lack of female inventors taking the lead on patents to the fact that women are still underrepresented in STEM fields, although there are signs that girls are gravitating toward math and science.
Young women in grades K through 12 participate in high level mathematics and science courses at similar rates as their male classmates, and undergraduate women earned 50.3% of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project. And LEGO’s Women of NASA playset became Amazon’s best-selling toy the week it landed this month.
And there has been an uptick in the number of women included in international patent filings over the past two decades, according to a recent World Intellectual Property Organization report, which found 29% included at least one woman inventor, compared with just 17% in 1995.
So while the majority of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2017 quote and feature men in the head engineering seat, here are four women whose innovations made the top 25.
Fenty Beauty: “Work” singer Rihanna’s makeup line for every skin tone, which launched in September with 40 shades of foundation highlighted on a diverse array of models, has been selling out at Sephora.
Nike Pro Hijab: While not the inventor per se, Egyptian runner Manal Rostom, the founder of the “Surviving Hijab” Facebook group, was an early advocate and tester alongside United Arab Emirates weight lifter Amna Al Haddad for Nike’s breathable performance hijab for women athletes who wear religious headscarves.
Willow Pump: Willow president and CEO Naomi Kelman’s breast pump is designed to be portable, wearable – and quiet. The battery-powered cup-shaped pumps are free from the traditional whirring machine, and instead slip into your bra.
Molekule: This high-tech air filter developed by Jaya Rao with her brother and father doesn’t just clean the air by catching pollutants, toxins, mold and bacteria in a filter – it also destroys them.
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