Woman In Business
The countries with the highest number of female inventors were Cuba and the Philippines. DANIEL MUNOZ/Reuters

According to data from the World Intellectual Property Organisation, in 2021, the countries with the highest number of female inventors were Cuba and the Philippines.

In 2021, the worldwide average number of female inventors was only 17 per cent. However, in Cuba, the number of inventor applicants that were female was over 50 per cent. In the Philippines, the number of applicants that were female stood at 38 per cent.

Portugal ranked the European country, that is home to the most female inventors. The number of female inventor applicants fell slightly below the Philippines, at 34 per cent. The 34 per cent of female inventors, made for Portugal ranking 3rd place worldwide for the representation of women in the inventing industry.

Romania was awarded 6th place due to 28 per cent of the inventor applicants being female in 2021. Spain had only two per cent fewer female inventors than Romania (26%) and was therefore ranked 10th place worldwide.

However, other major European countries like the UK, Italy, Germany, and Sweden, fell below the global average of 17 per cent.

The UK fell slightly below the US and was awarded 55th place. In the UK, only 14 per cent of the inventor applicants were female in 2021. The US, which was ranked at 42, had 16 per cent of applicants being female.

Similar to the UK and the US, the number of female inventors in France, was around the global average.

From 2019 to 2021, the number of women inventors in the UK has only risen by 1.6 per cent. However, in the years between 2019 and 2021, the representation of women in inventing in Romania has risen by more than 10 per cent.

One of the poorest performances was made by Japan. In Japan, only 10 per cent of inventors were women. Similarly, there was a lack of female representation in the inventing field in India, the UAE, and Indonesia.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation commemorates women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs.

According to the UK International Property Office (UKIPO): "Historically, females have been underrepresented amongst patent inventors ... Before 1965, the proportion of female inventors was generally between 2 per cent and 3 per cent. Since then, the proportion of female inventors has risen at an accelerating pace, having risen to 6.8 per cent in 1998, and almost doubling since to reach 12.7 per cent in 2017."

In regard to the range of results, the European Publications Server (EPO) noted: "The low participation of women in patenting has been attributed to a variety of factors. First and foremost, women who choose any type of career, and especially those in the STEM professions, face tougher selection than men."

"Women at universities have fewer links to industry and are confined to more traditional academic career models than men ... Low recognition extends to business R&D, where women earn less than men although they contribute as much to the development of high-quality inventions," the EPO added.

In 2021, the average number of women inventors stood at around 13 per cent – below the worldwide median. It has been estimated that fewer than one in seven inventors in Europe are women. However, the gap between men and women inventors in European countries was wider than in other countries in the world.

The EPO also recognised the women inventor rate (WIR) in countries like China and Korea, as being unexpectedly higher than the WIR in some countries in Europe.

The EPO explained: "The countries with a higher WIR may be patenting more in technological fields with higher women's participation, or depend more, for patenting, on universities and public research organisations (PROs) rather than companies, the former being possibly more open to women's participation, due to historical reasons or public regulation."

The EPO concluded that inspirational female inventors will, "encourage others to turn their attention to remedying defects that come under their notice".