3 May 2023
Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, welcoming the girls at the event in The Hague.
Who might be the next great women inventors? Well, there’s a chance they recently visited the EPO.
On 30 March in The Hague and on 27 April in Munich, a combined total of over 200 girls aged 11 to 14 gathered to celebrate Girls’ Day and to learn about technical careers.
These two hybrid events marked the fifth consecutive year that the EPO has participated in Girls’ Day, the international initiative that aims to inspire girls to follow careers the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). With the involvement of 22 schools in the Netherlands and Germany, the events provided an opportunity for the EPO to confirm its commitment to promoting a workplace and an innovation landscape that are open and welcoming to all.
Each day began with a welcome address from senior management, with Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, opening the event in The Hague, while Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Sustainability Officer, welcomed the girls in Munich. Several women patent examiners provided an interactive introduction to the patent system and patent granting process. Through a mix of presentations and activities, the girls learned about the important achievements of women working in STEM and innovation, and about what STEM careers have to offer. They also got to know SUGRU inventor and European Inventor Award winner Jane ní Dhulchaointigh during an interactive online interview, met an EPO Young Professional and took a tour of the EPO art collection to learn more about topics related to gender diversity and sustainable innovation.
The EPO is proud to support Girls' Day and the initiative is one of several aimed at creating a more inclusive innovation ecosystem. The recent EPO Chief Economist Unit study found that only 13.2% of inventors in Europe are women. This figure highlights inequality and a failing to capitalise on half of humanity's talent at a time when the planet faces unprecedented challenges. By driving gender equality and empowering women to become inventors, society can draw on a broader and diverse skill set to develop solutions.