Towards fostering an innovative environment for women
Every year on April 26 World Intellectual Property (IP) Day is celebrated.
The annual international campaign presents a special opportunity to join forces with people all around the world to celebrate innovators and creators globally and discover how IP supports a flourishing music and arts scene and boosts technological innovation that helps shape our world.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) states that the celebrations this year will focus on talented women around the world in an effort to promote the development of more inclusive and diverse IP ecosystems that accelerate innovation, creativity, and business growth for the benefit of all. It must be noted that women, through their creativity, intelligence, and hard work, are reshaping the world in all regions. However, women frequently face major challenges to access the knowledge, skills, resources, and support they need for success.
WIPO defines IP as the creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.
By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
Unfortunately, in a world characterised by patriarchy and entrenched biases against women and girls, it has become more challenging for women and girls to realise their innovative and creative potential. This reality is especially so for women and girls in Afghanistan, where the Taliban-led Government has banned girls from receiving an education after primary school. Women in Afghanistan are also strongly encouraged not to work outside of their homes.
According to WIPO Director General Daren Tang, women only account for three in 10 jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite making up more than half of the world’s population, women only account for 16 per cent of international patent applications. This is problematic and needs to change.
On this World Intellectual Property Day the clarion call is for the international community to join forces in order to make gender parity in IP a reality. The global community must work towards a more inclusive universal IP culture in order to transform our world. Let us continue to give support to women innovators and creators in using IP in their journey from mind to market. This support is critical as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many individuals lost their jobs and livelihoods.
Women should be encouraged to pursue their passions and creative dreams. A balanced IP system will assist in ushering a more stable global financial system and help with the creation of jobs in this post- pandemic period. The work of all stakeholders is needed as the international community observes World Intellectual Property Day.
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or email@example.com