Women’s History Month Spurs New National Inventors Hall of Fame Initiative

Recent Studies Show ‘Gender Gap’ in Innovation, and the Hall of Fame is Well-Positioned to Help

NORTH CANTON, Ohio – March 8, 2018 – Only 18 percent of patented inventors are women, and true gender parity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields will take more than a century to achieve, according to a recent study from a team led by Stanford University economist Raj Chetty for the Equality of Opportunity Project (EOP).

In an effort to do its part to close this “gender gap,” the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) has launched the “Invent Girl Power” initiative, which is designed to educate parents about the importance of young girls being introduced to innovation at an early age, and to encourage them to get the girls in their life to explore STEM.

And recent studies show campaigns such as Invent Girl Power are needed. The EOP study — ”Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation” — notes:

  • Exposure matters in a gender-specific manner. Women are more likely to invent in a given technology class if they grew up in an area with many female inventors in that technology class.
  • If girls were as exposed to female inventors as boys are to male inventors, the gender gap in innovation would fall by half.
  • The gender gap in innovation is shrinking gradually over time, but at its current rate it will take another 118 years to reach gender parity.

“For a young person to decide to study a subject in college, let alone go on to work in STEM fields, they must have moments of positive connection throughout their formative years — moments where their curiosity and interest are engaged,” said Jayme Cellitioci, NIHF creativity and innovation strategist. “If we want to harvest the fruits of STEM, we must plant the seeds — and we want to plant them early.”

And the challenges don’t end with engaging young girls in the study of STEM fields. A 2016 National Science Foundation “Science and Engineering Indicators” document reported that while women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, they make up only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce.

Innovation- and STEM-based camps such as Camp Invention are an important tool to introduce our female youth to innovators and careers they can relate to and see themselves in, Cellitioci said.

“Camp Invention is proud to feature women innovators who are shaping our lives and changing the world,” she said. “Girls — and boys — participating in Camp Invention receive more than just exposure to our nation’s greatest innovators through stories. They often receive personal video messages from these inventors that authentically challenge them to dream big and invent their future!”

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is proud that its own representation of girls attending Camp Invention (40 percent) is on the rise. In addition, NIHF is a 65-percent female-employee organization, and it looks forward to the Invent Girl Power initiative resulting in more girls gaining access to innovation — further helping to close the innovation gender gap.

About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate. For more information, visit
invent.org. To nominate an inventor for Induction, visit invent.org/nominate.