"If you want to create a really useful invention, make sure you have both women and men on your development team," states writer Claire Cain Miller for Forbes. According to a survey by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, mixed-gender teams' technology patents received up to 42% more citations that their single-gender counterparts.
"Our data show that diversity of thought matters to innovation," says NCWIT Chief Executive Lucinda Sanders, who holds six telecom software patents. "We can say involving women is important because women are half the population and have good ideas, but our study shows the impact for companies."American women have been registering inventions for centuries: The first to receive a patent was Mary Dixon Kies, for a straw-weaving technique. In 1942, Hedy Lamarr patented a "secret communications system."
Today, women hold more patents in computer software than in any other category, but, unfortunately, fewer women are getting computer science degrees (a pattern that stars in elementary school, according to an NCWIT researcher). Still, the company iRobot - makers of automatic cleaners Roomba and Scooba, was cofounded by a man and a woman. Those little floor scrubbers are now a multimillion dollar business, so get out there and start inventing something, ladies!
Patenting The Co-Ed Code [Forbes]