Experts advocate improved female representation, capacity building

Experts have expressed the need for increasing the representation of women in intellectual Property (IP) protection and the creative/innovative industries.

Divisional Head, Business Support Services Division/General Counsel, NGX, Mrs. Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, stated this at the World Intellectual Property Day 2023

She said “This year’s World Intellectual Property Day, themed, Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity has helped to bring to the fore salient issues that impact women, especially the challenges in accessing the skills, resources, mentorship, and environment that are required to thrive.

“As a sustainable exchange, we identify with the success that Nigerian women are making in the arts, tech, entrepreneurship and much more. We understand the importance of IP to economic growth, and we remain committed to enhancing women-led innovation through the diversity of the potential of our offerings, and technology drive.”

Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Teju Abisoye, represented by Sheila Ojei, Director, Strategy, Funding & Stakeholder Management, LSETF, said that by recognising and protecting Women’s IP rights, society can enhance innovation, create more business success and empower women globally whilst improving gender equality.

She advised, “To accelerate women-led innovation and creativity, we need to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education; create mentorship opportunities for women in innovation and creativity; increase funding for women-led startups and innovative projects.

“We also have to address bias and discrimination in the innovation and IP system; provide education and training for IP protection for women innovators and creators; and increase the representation of women in IP law and policy making.”

Also speaking, Chief Digital Officer, NGX, Dr Olufemi Oyenuga, expressed excitement on the occasion and stated that it was remarkable that the world created a mileage to recognise this day to celebrate things around IP.

According to him, “Even more significant is the theme for this year, which is to celebrate the amazing creations by women across different fields and also explore ways to further enhance women’s contribution to economic development.”

Head, Rules and Adjudication, NGX Regulation Oluwatoyin Adenugba, said , “Data from the World Intellectual Property Organisation revealed only about 16.5% of inventors named in IP patent applications were women. There is a need to create more funding, mentoring and networking opportunities for women to utilise IP protection for innovation and creativity.”

The panel session aligning with the theme “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity” featured experts in the tech, finance and creative spaces who all supplied ideas and solutions to bridging the IP gap, thereby increasing women’s contribution to innovation and creativity globally.

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