World Intellectual Property Day 2023
On World Intellectual Property Day 2023, the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana presents his message on the Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity
Intellectual property gives credence and recognition to the intangible creations of the human intellect through patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Too often, creators and innovators see their ideas stolen and the benefits of their creativity lost to others globally. In Africa, a staggering number of innovations have changed the world without the benefits accruing to the creators nor to the people more broadly. For women innovators, the number is even higher. IP seeks to close that gap.
Launched in the year 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Intellectual Property Day (World IP Day – celebrated on 26th April) is an occasion to create understanding and awareness of the importance of IP in daily life and to encourage respect for the IP rights of creators and innovators worldwide as well as to celebrate the power of innovation and creativity, as well as explore how intellectual property (IP) supports our drive to build a better future.
Ghana is an active member of WIPO. The Ghana Intellectual Property Office (GHIPO) has traditionally celebrated this important day and works with WIPO to improve capacity, strengthen IP law and promote the importance of IP in economic development. GHIPO has developed a national IP strategy and established (with support from WIPO) a Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) to provide innovators with access to patents and other IP-related services.
This year, I am happy that the day is focusing on women, with the theme, ‘Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity. The theme calls to attention the need to reflect on how women all over the world are shaping the world through their imagination, ingenuity, and hard work.
The works of women around the world in the IP system cannot be over emphasized. Year in year out, women continue to build, create and develop new products, services and contributions that advance society. It is in raising awareness about why it is so important to encourage more women to participate in the IP system that we can promote their work and create, ensure that they reap the dividends of their creativity and the space for them to thrive. This celebration seeks to do just that.
Regrettably, women often face significant challenges in accessing the knowledge, skills, resources and support they need to thrive and too few of them benefits from their own intellectual property. Current data by the WIPO “show that, despite modest increases, too few women are using the IP system. The current gender gap in IP means that we are all missing out. We all benefit when women engage in innovation and creativity. Today, we face unprecedented challenges. With more diverse and inclusive ecosystems for innovation and creativity, we improve our collective capability to transition to a more sustainable future.”
This year’s World IP day drives traffic towards celebrating and securing benefit for the amazing achievements of women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs around the world, and promoting inclusion and diversity in all areas of our work, to ensure the development of innovation ecosystems that are accessible to all genders.
As a catalyst for the promotion of businesses, IP has the potential to increase the market value of products through creativity and innovations, thereby enhancing our economy, creating opportunities for all to thrive and ensuring we attain the goal of making the world a better place for all.
However, we can do more to yield the benefits that a well-organized, managed and accessible IP system offers. We must build the culture and environment that recognizes IP as a critical part of business strategies, from ideation to product development and marketing and services. Let us also create the opportunity to give voice to local women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs, many of whom are scattered all over the country, to create an opportunity for them to share their stories to inspire; involve women inventors and creators from within or outside our company/organization to share their experiences and provide the avenue for them to conceive, create and develop.
At this time, permit me to share with you the message of the WIPO Director-General, Daren Tang.
“Women innovators and creators have sharped the cause of humankind since time immemorial. Ever since the world’s first chemist, Tapputi carved her first formulars into Mesopotamia clay, more than 2000 years ago, women scientists and thinkers, artistes and performers have made our world, a better, more vibrant and more prosperous place. This year on World IP Day, we celebrate the achievements of women innovators, creators and entrepreneurs, while issuing a call for further action, so that women and girls, all parts of the world, use IP to bring their ideas alive.
Despite making up more than half of the planet’s population, women just file only 16 per cent of international patent applications. Moreover, women account for only three in 10 jobs relating to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). At WIPO, we want to change things for the better. Our vision is a more inclusive global IP ecosystem – one with women, youth and small and medium enterprises at its heart. Our logic is simple. In a world that faces a range of urgent challenges, over health, economy, the environment and more, it is critical that we support everyone in society to realize their innovative and creative potentials.”
As women play a strong role in Ghana’s economy and society, their contribution to its march towards self-reliance must be acknowledged and rewarded. This will inspire women to creator contributions. Today is an important juncture to recommit to this, spread the word and push for the IP rights of women.
I wish to thank you all for being a part of the celebration this year and I wish Ghana a happy World IP Day.