Bridging the Patent Gap
A podcast done by the guys over at Freakonomics Radio was passed along to me that posed some interesting suggestions about women’s competitiveness and productivity. The main topic of the podcast was “the patent gap,” referencing the fact that women are only responsible for 7.5% of all patents filed in the United States. Patents are basically certificates given by the government that give a person or organization the right to make or sell something specific. One might initially think to explain this phenomenon with the fact that there are less women in the innovative fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (what is being branded STEM). But that isn’t the whole story.
The fact that we need more women in the STEM fields aside, the podcast contributors are saying that women aren’t holding the types of positions that lead to patents in other fields either. Digging a little deeper, researchers have found that women are more competitive against other women as opposed to when placed in a situation with a man. On the podcast it is even suggested that women might be more productive in a work environment that is segregated from men.
Now, I’m not sure how I feel about that recommendation. I understand the desire to help women to reach their highest levels of achievement and productivity. But I’m a little stuck on this segregation idea. I think that collaboration between the different perspectives that men and women bring to the table is the way to go. Granted, the podcast also posits that if women started to file for more patents it could raise the GDP per capita 2.7%. But I still think good old cooperation between the sexes is a positive thing for society. Now that’s just a personal opinion. Listen to the podcast and let us know what you think.