Singapore a hotbed for female inventors, new figures show

A panel discussion yesterday on the contribution of women to innovation and creative industriesfeatured (from left) Wipo Singapore office director Denis Croze, president of PrimeTime Business and the Professional Women's Association Lavinia Thanapath
A panel discussion yesterday on the contribution of women to innovation and creative industriesfeatured (from left) Wipo Singapore office director Denis Croze, president of PrimeTime Business and the Professional Women's Association Lavinia Thanapathy, intellectual property consultant and former Ipos director-general Liew Woon Yin as well as singer-songwriter Tay Kewei.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore is proving to be a hotbed for female inventors, new statistics show.

Of the 664 patent applications to the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) last year, 41.7 per cent of them included women.

This compares with the international figure of 31 per cent of 224,000 patent filings under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) system last year, and 23 per cent a decade ago.

The figures were released by Wipo, a United Nations agency, yesterday - which was also World Intellectual Property Day - at an event at The National Design Centre.

Established female inventors here include Professor Jackie Y. Ying, fellow of the United States National Academy of Inventors and former executive director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

As head of the NanoBio Lab at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, she holds more than 180 primary patents and patent applications in various fields including nanomedicine, drug delivery, and cell and tissue engineering.

"Frequently, women have a broad perspective that bridges different disciplines, pioneering new frontiers in research and enterprise," she said.

Another home-grown inventor is baby bottle manufacturer Yvon Bock, whose company Hegen reinvented the device to provide an easier and more sustainable breastfeeding option.

A panel discussion at the event also heard that gender progress could be seen in the public sector with the recent reshuffling of the Cabinet, which now has three women ministers. This is the highest number of female ministers appointed here. However, Wipo cautioned that a gender gap persists.

Panellist Lavinia Thanapathy, president of PrimeTime Business and Professional Women's Association in Singapore, said there is still a lack of women in senior leadership.

Mr Denis Croze, Wipo Singapore office director, said: "It is crucial to break down gender stereotypes which still remain widespread."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore a hotbed for female inventors, new figures show'. Print Edition | Subscribe