Image of a female architect with construction workers
8 March 2018

The number of Australian female inventors listed on patent applications has increased more than tenfold between 1980 and 2016 — according to the latest figures released by IP Australia to celebrate International Women’s Day.

IP Australia Director General, Patricia Kelly, said the increase in women participating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at university could be a factor in the significant increase in female inventors over the past 30 years.

'We see from the patent application data that different technologies have very different female participation. In the areas of pharmaceuticals and chemistry, the percentage of female inventors has gone from less than 10 per cent to more than 40 per cent between 1980 and 2016,' she said.

'In biotechnology and organic fine chemistry, female inventors have gone from being on less than 20 per cent of Australian patent applications in 1980 to more than half in 2016. Areas where there is still relatively low female participation are in certain engineering fields, with just over 10 per cent of female inventors in civil engineering.'

One in seven patent applications from Sydney or Melbourne has at least one female inventor.

'This proportion drops slightly to one in nine for applications from the regional areas of NSW and Victoria. While the latest figures on female inventors are encouraging, they indicate that there is still some way to go before the full potential of female scientists and inventors are realised.'

More intellectual property data, including on patents, is available through IP Government Open Data.

image showing the increase of Australian inventors that are female from 1980 and 2015

image showing the increase of Australian inventors that are female from 1980 and 2015

image showing the percentage of applications with at least one female inventor in top WIPO tech fields