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19 MAY 2023 (FRI) 11:35 - 11:55

The Dragoness Awakens: Gender Disparities in Patenting Activities in Chinese Cities

Ms ZHANG Zixuan


Gender disparities in innovation activities are well-documented in Western contexts, but less is known about these disparities in China, where gender inequality has deep cultural roots. We address this gap by drawing on the Regional Innovation Systems literature to examine how economic, social, and cultural factors in Chinese cities influence female participation and collaboration. Examining 293,997 patents applied for by individual inventors at the Chinese patent office between 1995 and 2015 and novel gender-identification methods, we find that female participation in patenting has increased over time, but that female collaboration has decreased in Chinese cities in recent years. Our results from multi-level regression models, show that patterns of female participation and collaboration differ across Chinese cities, with traditional patenting hot-spot cities not outperforming cities that patent less. In cities with greater economic development female participation and collaboration, tends to be greater. Social development in Chinese cities is found to be associated with greater female participation but not collaboration. Interestingly, we find that Confucian culture is negatively associated with female inventors' probability to collaborate, but not that of male inventors. Our results suggest that female participation and collaboration are associated with different factors. This distinction is important, because most policies promoting gender equality do so through mechanisms of economic development and education. This foster female participation but not collaboration. Thus, additional policies are required that target cultural barriers to unlock the potential of female inventors in Chinese cities

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