Kelli D. Zaytoun (Committee Chair), Zdravka K. Todorova (Committee Member), Nancy G. Garner (Committee Member)
Master of Humanities (MHum)
Steering women toward educational paths and careers in fields of invention would seem, in theory, to be the obvious solution to closing the gap between the number of men and women filing for and being granted invention patents. Billions of dollars have been invested at the federal, state, and local levels to spur interest and competency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, but gender disparity in innovation workplaces persists. Studies indicate that, in addition to the educational barriers that can be and have been addressed legislatively, social and cultural influences affect outcomes for career women, as well as young women considering STEM degree programs. Evidence suggests that as more male students are drawn to STEM fields as a result of these same educational initiatives, the inventive patent ownership gender gap will widen. By considering the historical treatment of women with regard to intellect, employment, and property ownership, an enormity of scope emerges that, in turn, creates questions about the efficacy of current suggested strategies to narrow the gap.
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