Few Swedish patents are owned by women: “Shockingly bad”

A new survey shows that only 6 percent of the inventors behind active patents are women. If you look at the holding, women own just under 1 percent of active patents registered with PRV.

The politically independent think tank Ownershift works to increase women’s ownership of companies and patents, among other things. The think tank has just released a report which, among other things, shows the distribution of patent holders and inventors for all active national patents last year. These are a total of 10,598 patents, and to be active, they cannot be older than twenty years old.

When looking at patent holdings, women own just under 1 percent of all active patents, compared to 6 percent for men and 93 percent for companies.

If you look instead at the distribution of inventors of the active patents, the distribution is 6 percent women, 91 percent men and the rest are indeterminate or unknown.

– That it would be unequal is no surprise. But that it is this bad is shocking, says economist Emma Heikensten, one of the researchers behind the report.

Heikensten: “Strong stereotypical perceptions”

Why does it look like this? Emma Heikensten explains that they have not looked at the issue specifically in relation to patents. But the researchers perceive that “most of the areas that concern ownership, from houses, to land, to shares and entrepreneurship, including patents, are generally dominated by a male norm”.

– There are strong stereotypical perceptions about how to be, who should have which roles, and who should behave in a certain way. This is something that also affects inventors and owners of patents, says Emma Heikensten.

She sees the figures as clear proof of the inequality that prevails in certain areas when it comes to ownership.

– If the gender differences remain in the long run, I think it can reduce Sweden’s innovative power, because we are missing a lot of important perspectives, Emma Heikensten concludes.

The inventor of something and the person applying for a patent for the invention do not have to be the same person. And as the report shows, it is often companies that own the patents in Sweden.


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