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About this book

This book explores the gender dimension in technology commercialization through a collection of papers by internationally renowned scholars in the USA, Mexico and Europe. Technology, Commercialization and Gender looks at various gender imbalances in this key innovation area and demonstrates that the construction of gendered identities within male-dominated work environments such as technology commercialization is a complex and lengthy process, often faced with institutional culture obstacles. More gender awareness and openness along all stages of the innovation chain, as well as more research and policy interventions are needed to ensure better use of highly-skilled human capital in knowledge-based economies around the globe.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction Setting the Scene: An Insight into the “Gender Divide” in Science and Technological Advancement

As some of the most significant achievements of the creative human mind, one would expect scientific discoveries and technological innovation to be gender-neutral by nature, but in practice these processes have a gendered nature that is often not recognized or is given insufficient attention. Changes in the social perception of women’s status and social responsibilities, primarily related to family and child rearing, as well as improvements in their access to education and employment have been extremely slow processes that have been undermined by Darwinian theories of sex selection and influenced by deeply rooted prejudice. Consequently, women’s minority status in some scientific fields continues to be a major feature of the scientific community and only a small proportion break through the ‘glass ceiling’ and make successful careers in science. The gender bias in academic science is perpetuated in entrepreneurial science, determining a lower involvement of women scientists in science and technology commercialization, especially in regard to intellectual property rights and patenting, creation of spin-offs, access to venture capital, etc. These issues are critical for understanding academic entrepreneurship dynamics, improving the use of social capital and avoiding the perpetuation of current inequalities in academia. This chapter provides the background and overall contextual framework for the book. It offers a brief overview of relevant literature and scopes for future research, as well as short descriptions of the contributing chapters.
Pooran Wynarczyk, Marina Ranga

Chapter 2. The Gender Dimension in German Knowledge and Technology Transfer: A Double-Edged Sword

Best, Heidingsfelder and Schraudner are the first to rigorously investigate the position of the gender dimension in knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) in Germany. Following current definitions of the gender dimension and KTT, their method combined a comprehensive literature review and key informant interviews with KTT managers, KTT specialists, and academic entrepreneurs. Their findings suggest that the gender dimension is currently integrated in German KTT to a rather low degree. They indicate, moreover, that women and men in KTT have very different interpretative repertoires and that the perception of roles, processes, and cultures in KTT are gendered. Simultaneously, an impending cultural shift can be observed. The authors develop starting points to improve the integration of the gender dimension and women in German KTT. The results of the analysis can be transferred to a number of other Western countries.
Kathinka Best, Marie Heidingsfelder, Martina Schraudner

Chapter 3. Women’s Role in Biotechnology Research: The Case of Mexico

It is widely recognized that women face a number of gender-related barriers to succeed in science and technology. Specifically, most women seeking to pursue an academic career need to overcome not only professional hurdles but also personal and social obstacles. Although women have made strides in closing the gender gap, especially in life sciences, many still face professional exclusion. In Mexico, biotechnology is one of the few fields where women scientists participate in large numbers. The School of Biological Sciences of the National Polytechnic Institute (ENCB-IPN) is one of the country’s most prestigious academic institutions where women enrolled in life sciences have had a long tradition to teaching and carrying out scientific research. In this chapter, we explore the involvement of female scientists from ENCB in patenting and commercializing biotechnology research. By drawing on the Espacenet international patent database we were able to identify how these women scientists interact with their male colleagues. Empirical findings suggest that most female scientists from ENCB tend to patent in collaboration with male scientists, whereas only a handful of them patent alone. We also report how they deal with this situation and what the challenges for pursuing an entrepreneurial vocation in the Mexican scientific milieu are.
Humberto Merritt, Maria Pilar M. Perez-Hernandez

Chapter 4. Patenting Activity in Spain: A Gender Perspective

Women are under-represented in science, but their presence is especially low in industrial research and in activities related to technological innovation. Spanish technological activity by gender is analyzed in this chapter through the study of patent applications with at least one Spanish inventor filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) during a 9-year period. Only 16% of the inventors are women, just 24% of patents have at least one female inventor and this figure slumps to 11% in fractional count terms. Women tend to appear in cross-gender teams and an uneven distribution of female inventors across institutional sectors and thematic fields is observed. The significant gender gap in patenting activity described in this study is narrowing over the years, but the progress is very slow. Gender imbalances unfavorable to women in research are not self-correcting phenomena and policy measures are needed to promote female participation. The collection of sex-disaggregated indicators on patenting activity is useful to monitor female presence, to identify inequalities by fields and sectors, and to assess the effectiveness of policy interventions.
Elba Mauleón, María Bordons

Chapter 5. Gender Patterns of Businesses with Growth Potential in Croatia

The literature review presented in the chapter confirms that researchers’ interest is more focused on why and how businesses are created, and much less why and how they grow. There is a shortage of empirical evidence of growth influencers, as well as evidence about the intensity and patterns of the interaction between internal factors and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the process of growing a venture. The authors identify this gap and combine different angles (theory of firm growth, entrepreneurship, inclusion, macroeconomic aspects of using resources) with a gender aspect (inclusion), in exploring why and how businesses grow. Using this angle and aggregated Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data from the 2003–2013 period, the chapter presents several gender patterns of businesses with growth potential (innovative products, innovative technology, and competitiveness) in Croatia.
Slavica Singer, Nataša Šarlija, Sanja Pfeifer, Sunčica Oberman Peterka

Chapter 6. Gender-Sensitive Business Counselling: Changing the Gendered Pattern and Understanding of Entrepreneurship

This chapter compiles existing studies on gender-sensitive business counselling—an increasingly common policy measure in Western economies to increase the number of women entrepreneurs—and compares them with an empirical case carried out in Sweden to determine whether this kind of counselling can change the gendered pattern and understanding of entrepreneurship. Eight components and three effects are distinguished, some of which are specific to gender-sensitive business counselling, while others are similar to general counselling methods, requiring symmetrical relations between counsellor and client and the client’s active role in order to contribute to changes in the gendered pattern and understanding of entrepreneurship.
Malin Lindberg, Anders W Johansson

Chapter 7. Gender, Commercialization and Thought Leadership in Computing: Examining Women’s Participation in Information Technology Patenting and Conference Paper Authorship

Few studies have investigated gendered patterns in IT patenting or authorship, but understanding female participation in these areas is important if we are to increase women’s meaningful participation in recognized and rewarded aspects of IT innovation. This chapter reports findings from two studies: one on female rates of patenting and one on female authorship of computing conference papers. In short, we demonstrate that while women’s participation remains low, especially in terms of patenting, important increases have been made over time. We also examine variation in these rates of patenting and authorship across companies and across conferences, ultimately identifying some important implications for increasing women’s meaningful participation in key commercial and intellectual aspects of computing.
Catherine Ashcraft, Joanne McGrath Cohoon

Chapter 8. Fostering Collaborative Innovation: Fraunhofer’s Participatory Methodology

Successful commercialization of new products is a business need. Best, Rehberg, and Schraudner suggest a collaborative, user-centered ideation phase that includes gender aspects from the very beginning of the research and development process. Based on a case study from Fraunhofer’s Discover Markets, they identify five rules for participative innovation processes, allowing for the integration of women’s wishes and needs. The integration of gender aspects is part of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework. The suggested participative process offers the possibility to combine commercial success with (social) responsibility.
Kathinka Best, Michael Rehberg, Martina Schraudner

Chapter 9. Case Study: Hertha Ayrton

The physicist Hertha Ayrton was active a century ago, but the obstacles she faced still challenge modern women in science. By presenting her life in two different versions—first as a stereotyped heroine and then as a scientific outsider—this article highlights how strongly gender can affect the perceptions of ability and career success.
Patricia Fara


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