Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender in the Creation of Intellectual Property of the Selected European Union Countries

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gender in the Creation of Intellectual Property of the Selected European Union Countries

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


Will Europe 2020, and, in particular, the Innovation Union, which provides yet another opportunity for obtaining enormous financial and institutional support, unleash EU innovations? A comprehensive search for additional sources of the creative base supporting innovation development is becoming the necessary challenge in the conditions whose assessment varies, depending on social actors. This kind of approach brings forward gender equality. Recruiting and retaining women in scientific and technical fields is seen as a key to success for the 2020 Strategy. "Equal participation of men and women is essential for Europe to exploit the full potential of innovative strengths - not only for demographic reasons, but also in the case of innovation processes and results. There is a need to clarify what (new) cluster policy related measures can support the process to get more women involved in the innovation process of business and research" (SIT, 2011).

It needs to be considered that all economic and social activities take place within an institutional framework. The economy, like society, represents a complex of institutions, ranging from the very smallest, such as family, to the largest and most comprehensive, namely the state (Chavance, 2009). Institutional economics was chosen as a frame for research, since it offers a broad perspective, which allows to bring forward gender while analysing economic relations. Gender, on the other hand, is a fundamental organizing principle of institutions (Jacobsen, 2007), therefore it has to be taken into account while researching economic questions. In this context, introducing the role of gender into the innovation process, especially in its initial part determined by the intellectual input of individuals (intellectual property) of different gender seems an obvious and necessary issue to be studied. In this article, intellectual property included in patents was considered the determinant of this input and the number of men and women who participate in its generation was analysed and evaluated.

A number of studies and reports have stressed the acute problem of women's underrepresentation in science in the business enterprise sector (OECD, 2012; Hunt et al., 2013). Whilst women represent over 35% of all researchers in the higher education and government sectors of most European countries, this is not the case for the corporate sector. The percentage of female researchers in the business enterprise sector is less than 25% in most countries (European Commission, 2010). Yet another flagship initiative under the 2020 Strategy, the New Skills and Jobs Agenda, focuses on the need to modernise labour markets, increase labour participation and match labour markets and skills. Studies show that the European labour shortage is likely to have a greater impact on female or male dominated occupations rather than on less divided sectors (European Commission, 2009). Occupations in healthcare and ICT are already affected by the shortage of professionals in Europe. For example, the rapidly growing demand for ICT specialists was one of the motivators behind the European Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT launched by the European Commission (Vinnova, 2011).

In the past decade there has been an evident growth in the number of methodological proposals of how to measure scientific and technological achievements taking the category of gender into consideration (Whittington & Smith-Doerr, 2005; Naldi et al., 2005; Frietsch et al., 2008). Frietsch, Haller, Vrohlings and Grupp (2009) divide the studies carried out so far into the following groups of research programmes: (1) the representation of women in science and engineering using publication activity (the analysis of the number and quality of scientific and technological publications of men and women); (2) studies of the impact of an individual's own family and maternity on scientific productivity and (3) the analysis of women's scientific career paths. …

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