Women, Innovation, and Information Communication Technology: An Analysis of Gendered Patterns in IT/ICT Patenting
While a number of studies have documented the underrepresentation of women in IT/ICT professions, few studies have investigated gendered patterns in IT/ICT patenting rates. This is problematic because patenting is an important measure of innovation and influence in IT. Examining women's IT patenting rates helps us understand women's involvement in the recognized and rewarded aspects of IT innovation, research, and development. This is important for moving beyond a simple focus on the mere "number" of women in IT/ICT to a focus on HOW women are participating in IT/ICT in terms of innovation and leadership roles. This session will present the findings from a research study conducted by the U.S.-based National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Drawing from an analyses of all IT patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office from 1980-2005, we will discuss overall rates of patenting for males, females, and diverse work teams, key trends over the past 25 years, key differences by industry subcategory, differences by academic and industry contexts, and citation rates of patents produced by male, female, and gender diverse work teams. One of this study's key findings is that gender diverse work teams consistently produce patents that are more highly cited than patents produced by either male or female only inventors. We will discuss the implications of this and other findings for developing more inclusive innovation practices in organisations and for directions for further research.
Keywords: Gender, Organisations, Innovation, Patenting
Dr. Catherine Ashcraft
Senior Research Scientist, National Center for Women & Information Technology, University of Colorado