I looked at OECD data for gender-related tables, and found an interesting one on women inventors. Data was gleaned from patent records, detailing the names of people involved in the inventions (“the inventors”) sorting those lists by country-specific common male and female names (which probably means there are slip ups in either direction).
I have tried many different tools, and the most useful were Quartz Chartbuilder for simple graphs, CartoDB for maps and DataHero for all the rest.
First I made a map of the data. I found it interesting that such high concentrations of women inventors were found in Poland and Portugal, as well as Mexico, Greece and Chile.
Then I charted differences over time for some countries (Because I couldn’t fit them all in). As you can see, all featured countries have seen peaks which later declined. For Australia and Finland the decline seems to be ongoing, while Greece, Israel and Chile have seen a modest uptick, and the US pretty much flatlined.
Last, I wanted to see if I could find some interesting relationship between women inventors and other indices. Was there a correlation between the percentage of women inventors in a country, and the percentage of women who received tertiary education in that country?
Yes, there does seem to be a strong correlation between the two. A more educated women populace would mean more women inventors.
What about women entrepreneurs – was there a possible correlation there?
There does seem to be a modest correlation between the two.
But I was most surprised when I tried to correlate gender wage gap – often used to describe the level of gender parity in a country – with women inventors. I had expected for the connection to be inverse: the lower the wage gap, the higher the opportunities a woman has to become an inventor. But it was the other way around, at least in the countries I checked: Denmark had a low wage gap – and a low rate of women inventors, while Chile displayed the opposite connection. Whether this is the result of a cultural difference of something else – or maybe my chart didn’t portray the situation entirely accurately – I don’t know. But it leaves some interesting questions to investigate.