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Black women are less likely to get patents for their work

PICTURED: Black women in business (Photo credit: iStock)

A NEW report designed to increase gender diversity in patenting, innovation, and entrepreneurship has revealed that women of color, particularly black and Hispanic women, are less likely to obtain U.S. patent rights than white women and men.

The report from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, a Washington think tank, found that “people of color are particularly unlikely to hold intellectual property,” despite black and Hispanic women leading the charge in a growing wave of new female-owned businesses over the last two decades, reports Fast Company.

Women-owned firms grew from 847,000 to 1.1 million between 1997 and 2015, according to the study, yet less than 19 percent of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had a female inventor listed, according to the most recent data, compiled in 2015.

The report found that “despite being less likely to hold intellectual property rights than men, women-owned businesses still report actively engaging in innovative activities and generally do so at rates at least as high as men-owned business.”

Co-author of the report, Jessica Milli said: “Innovation is how we come up with solutions to the most pressing challenges that are facing our society today. Without input from all sexes and ethnic groups, some issues get overlooked and “you get solutions that only work for a small portion of the population.”

The report also shows that there is a link between patents and the success of a business. The under-representation of women is therefore “troubling because their limited access to that process holds them back, to some extent, from realising their full potential,” Milli added.

Read the full report here

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