News & Opinion | March 26, 2019 12:45 pm

Female Inventors Are the “Lost Einsteins” of the Modern Era

The lack of exposure young girls have to inventor role models is depriving the world of their greatness.

female inventors
Girls have the abilities to invent but need more access to programs that foster their creativity. (Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
UIG via Getty Images

In recent years, women have been churning out more inventions than ever, says the US Patent and Trademark Office.

But they’re still seriously outnumbered by men when it comes to actually obtaining patents for their work. The disparity is so severe that one recent study found that it will take 118 years before the US reaches gender parity among inventors, CNN reported.

In 1976, the number of patents that included a woman as an inventor was less than 4%, but as women have gained speed in a male-dominated field,  by 2016, that figure jumped to 21%.

However, women inventors made up only 12% of all inventors on patents granted in 2016, according to the patent office — a disparity that hurts the economy.

“You can grow to some degree by copying other people, but what really moves the dial is when you can come out with great new ideas and innovation and new technology,” John Van Reenan, who co-authored the recent study about inventors, told CNN.

That same 2017 study deemed women the “lost Einsteins” of the world based on their talents and abilities but low exposure to to innovation and inventor role models.

“There are a lot of really talented girls who could’ve been inventors. We’re losing out on a generation of Marie Curies,” Van Reenan said.