Spain is the country with the fourth highest number of female inventors in Europe, but there is a clear gender gap

The presence of female inventors in Spain represents a higher percentage of the total than in Europe in general. While there are only 13.2% of inventors on the continent, Spanish women who register their patents are 23.2%, according to data collected by the European Patent Office (EPO). Although in our country this figure is higher than in the rest of Europe, this does not mean that they are noticeably less than male inventors.

The EPO details that there has been a slight increase in the rate of female inventors: It has grown from 2% in 1978 to 13.2% in 2019 (European data), However, statistics show that the gender gap is still a problem in this sector. The European countries with the most women inventors are:

  • Latvia (30.6%)
  • Portugal (26,8%)
  • Croatia (25.8%)
  • Spain (23.2%)
  • Lithuania (21.4%)
  • Estonia (20,7 %)
  • Gracia (20,7 %)

OEP President Antonio Campinos believes that efforts to “promote inclusion” in the sector should be increased. According to him, you “Promoting women’s access to science and innovation remains a major challenge for Europe, as well as an important factor for our future stability and competitiveness.”

Spain, the fourth European country with the most women inventors

Although there is still a long way to go, in Spain we can be proud One in four inventors is a woman, a higher number than the European average. Louis Berenguer, chief spokesperson of the OEP, admits to 20BITS that the reasons why our country is one of those regions on the list are two:

“In recent years, Spain has been characterized at the social level for very concrete and thorough policies on equality issues. On the other hand, if we focus on patents, it is data taking into account the characteristics and the quantity Worth evaluating the local innovation market. […] In Spain, the main applicant for European patents is CSIC, followed by other public research bodies. Our study shows that the presence of women in public research or research associated with universities is very high.

Furthermore, Berenguer recognizes that women inventors typically present themselves as More often become part of work teams. This is related to the fact that women conduct research in universities, where projects are approached “from an interdisciplinary perspective”.

The OEP spokesperson points out a very worrying fact within the large presence of women in the field of research in universities and that is There is a “descent curve” as more senior positions are discussed. That is, there is a ‘glass ceiling’. Berenguer “highlights the need to conduct an analysis that takes into account aspects such as reconciliation, a more equal distribution of family responsibilities or the need to work internationally.”

Thanks to the European Patent Office, we have been able to trace the names of several Spanish inventors who reached the finals of the European Inventor’s Prize, which they celebrate annually. Underlines Berenguer’s name Daisy Hallwhich was awarded twice in the 2019 edition, which received the credit of ‘Professional Career’ and ‘Popular Awards’. Not only has his name appeared on the list of those recognized by the OEP, but other Spanish inventors have also been honored or are on the verge of being honored in other editions, such as the one in 2022.

Run & Save is a startup's approach that seeks to improve the performance of freight transportation by truck.

Elena García Armada, winner of the European Inventors Prize 2022

After meeting Daniela, a girl who was paralyzed after suffering a traffic accident, Elena García Armada began to make a plan. pediatric exoskeletonOr in 2009. With this project in mind, he launched his startup Marcy Bionics in 2013, with the intention of one day commercializing his device, something he achieved After raising 942,000 Euros and receiving CE authorization from the Spanish Medicines Agency.

Elena García Armada poses next to the pediatric exoskeleton that won her the 2022 European Inventor Award.
Elena García Armada poses next to the pediatric exoskeleton that won her the 2022 European Inventor Award.

All his years of hard work has been rewarded with the EPO award, however, the road was not easy. Garcia told 20 Minutes this summer that it was “disappointing to see a technical, deep, capital-intensive project come to fruition in an ecosystem that was very little prepared for this type of project.” “The entrepreneurship ecosystem in Spain is completely infertile,” he explained. a lot of obstacles that make you think about a lot of things,

However, the “hurdles” he talks about were worth it when he saw the results: “To see the joy on families’ faces, that children feel better … This affects their quality of life. There is no greater reward than this.”

The inventor explained that she faced obstacles because she was a woman and she Many times I had to work “triple to prove my worth”, Garcia highlighted the phase of the business in which he had to earn the trust of investors and try to demonstrate his “leadership potential”.

Dive is already used in hospitals.

Nuria Espallargas, Finalist for the 2022 European Inventor Prize

From Norway, Spanish metallurgical engineers continue to work on their project, which is investigating the possibility of manufacturing A ceramic coating to protect certain components from wear and chemical exposure. During this process, his name appeared on the shortlist for the European Inventor’s Prize this year, thanks to it.

what you are doing has been implemented To protect the brakes of cars, trains and aircraft turbines, But its use can go further and be used in space exploration. The European Space Agency could use the coating that Espalargas is developing for their future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Its coating has been used for vehicle brakes on Earth, but may be used in space exploration.
Its coating has been used for vehicle brakes on Earth, but may be used in space exploration.

“It was NASA that developed thermal spray coatings in the ’70s as solid lubricants at high temperatures in space missions – Espalargus refers to in 20 minutes – at present, all space agencies ​​for a variety of components and applications Uses thermal spray coatings and they are always looking for improvements. They already have them. They love to try new and extreme things and this is where inventions play an important role.,

Espallargas also believes that the public administration should invest more, although he admits that there has been an increase in investment: “I think they are trying to support more and more, but Getting financing is still difficult In something as risky as invention”.

For her part, she believes Spain has made great progress in equality and has “a lot of well-dressed women.” In this regard, he highlighted that in the Iberian country “it is easier to work as a team”: “we are open minded and we like to talk And it might just create a more prolific environment for female inventors.”

She wants to be part of that percentage, which is growing very slowly in Spain and which shows that women also have a place in the world of inventions. Right now, he says, he’s working on more environmentally friendly lubricants: “The problem of contamination by lubricants in the oceans is due to sea transportation

Industrial lubricants are used by companies to clean machinery used, so they are useful. Although the pollution caused by is “bigger than plastic”Despite the fact that little is said about this problem. Espallargas assures that it already has a patent application in this area and is working on new formulations of “greener” lubricants.

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