Excellence in Reporting on Healthcare Inequalities and Disparities

Gender Bias Toward Men in Patent Awards Results in Less Biomedical Innovation for Women, Study Suggests

Jun 17, 2021   |   STAT

Research has long shown that fewer patents are awarded to women than to men. Now a new study suggests that bias is fueling disparities in biomedical innovation as well.

The study, published Thursday in Science, found that female inventors are more likely to come up with biomedical ideas and products that focus on the needs of women whereas male inventors are more inclined to focus on products for men.

That, the authors concluded, suggests society may be missing out on medications, devices, and technology that could benefit women’s health.

The study found that, although the percentage of biomedical patents held by women had risen from 6.3% to 16.2% in the last three decades, men still significantly outnumber women as patent holders and, in turn, health- and medicine-related inventions more often address men’s health. If there was gender parity, there would have been 6,500 more female-focused inventions during the time the researchers studied, according to their findings. Read More

Authors

Claudia López Lloreda

Share your vote