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EPO commemorates International Women’s Day

8 March 2023

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The EPO joins intellectual property offices, companies and
individuals worldwide today in commemorating International Women’s Day
(IWD). The event has grown to become a global celebration of women’s social,
economic, cultural, scientific and political achievements, and also provides an
opportunity to discuss topical issues. This year’s theme, DigitALL:
Innovation and technology for gender equality
, explores the impact of a
widening digital gender gap and recognises the women and girls driving change
in technology and digital education.  

In a joint statement, the EPO, the USPTO and 36 IP
organisations addressed the underrepresentation of women and emphasised the
need for change: “Women’s entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity foster technological
advancement, enrich culture, and contribute to economic growth. Their
contributions and participation in decision-making processes are crucial for
the development of inclusive policies, spaces and digital tools necessary to
increase the awareness of women and girls of their rights and to support more
robust and diverse civic engagement.”

As part of its celebrations, the EPO joined the USPTO
symposium on women in intellectual property (IP). The three-day hybrid event
from 7 to 9 March features several panels, workshops and mentoring sessions. Nellie
Simon, EPO Vice-President Corporate Services, delivered an address yesterday in
which she spoke on the importance of an equitable society, noting that,
“Gender equality is the engine of our evolving economy that will fuel
sustainable, inclusive growth.”

Roberta Romano-Götsch, EPO Chief Sustainability Officer, will
participate tomorrow in several sessions, contributing towards exchanges on diversity
and inclusion at the EPO, women in IP and mentoring.  EPO Chief Economist Yann Ménière completes
the trio of EPO speakers at the symposium.  During his presentation, Ménière will discuss
the results of the EPO report Women’s participation in inventive activity.
While the women inventor rate in Europe is rising (up from 2% in the late 1970s
to 13.2% in 2019), the report notes that a considerable gender gap remains.

About International Women’s Day

With roots in the women’s suffrage
movement, IWD has been commemorated in various forms and countries for well
over a century. The first European observance took place in 1911 and soon drew supporters
in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In 1975, the UN began celebrating
IWD and two years later invited member states to proclaim the day as an
official UN holiday.

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