Do women patent differently - the patent system of the GDR

Lilla salen Session 5: Leading Change: Female Pioneers in Patenting and Inventing organized by Youssouf Merouani


Finni Jo Erdmann


In its legacy the GDR is often “praised” for its progress in terms of its policies to promote women, especially in professional life. This research investigates whether this progress was sustainable for these women. Both the patent-system of the GDR in its whole, and the occurrence and characteristics of female inventorship in the 20th century, have not yet been sufficiently researched. To change this, a complete database on GDR patents is built to find female inventors and patent holders and to show how female innovation developed in the GDR over time and whether it differentiated from the development of overall innovation in the GDR. This research therefore contributes to the prevailing literature on gender gaps in patenting. First findings suggest that in the initial years of the GDR female driven innovation is low in numbers, and that among Merited Inventors throughout the timespan of the GDR women were even harder to find, but in the late years of the GDR inventions with female participation held a much higher percentage. The hypothesis is that the women´s policy of the GDR had to have at least a certain impact on the female-driven innovation.


No PDF available.