Gender equality in IP associations has improved but may increase
The participation of women in leadership positions, considering the intersectionalities in the world of intellectual property, is still not ideal, but the advances made in recent years towards gender equality are undeniable, pointed out Isabella Cardozo, coordinator of the ABPI Diversity Committee, Neide Bueno, counselor of ASPI (São Paulo Intellectual Property Association) and the former presidents of INTA (International Trademark Association), Tiki Dare, of ASIPI (Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property), Maria del Pilar Troncoso, and of ABAPI (Brazilian Association of Industrial Property Agents), Lilian de Melo Silveira. On March 10th, they attended the international webinar “IP Associations: Initiatives to Promote Gender Equality”, moderated by Martín Michaus Romero, former president of AMPPI (Asociación Mexicana para la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual).
Isabella Cardozo recalled that of the last five ABPI presidents three were women. And the two most recent, although male, promoted diversity: the previous administration created the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, while the current one established gender parity in the Executive Board. In the last two years, he added, the Committee has held presentations, courses, and debates covering topics on racism, LGBTQIAP+, persons with disabilities, and gender equality. Despite the advances, ABPI maintains its ambitious agenda for inclusion and equality promotion. The current management plan includes a broader representation in congresses and publications, among other activities. “Our plan foresees several actions towards diversity”, he said, remembering that, in Brazil, more than 50% of the population declares itself black and that the intersectional perspective is essential for real progress in diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Maria del Pilar Troncoso explained that, within the scope of ASIPI, the first female participation in the Executive Committee took place only in 1997, a moment that she considers late for an association founded more than three decades ago. However, from then on, the female presence in the entity increased with the creation, in 2009, of a committee aimed at discussing the participation of women in the labor market. According to her, today, among the 45 member countries of ASIPI, the female presence is increasingly closer to equality with men. “In some countries, like the Dominican Republic, the number of female members is twice as many as male members”, she stated.
Lilian de Melo Silveira informed that, in the case of ABAPI, female inclusion occurred naturally, following the evolution of the presence of women in the labor market. According to her, in the late 1950s, there was a 30% participation of women among the entity’s members, a percentage that today has reached 48%, with gender equality in the board, and more than 60% in courses coordination. “We are looking into creating a working group, which could be in the form of a committee, to address this equality issue”, she said.
Neide Bueno explained that ASPI was founded by men, and naturally had a male predominance in its management. But since 2009, when the entity had its first woman in the presidency, the path towards female participation in ASPI has progressively increased. “Today, in the executive board, the managements have been constituted within gender equality, without discrimination”, she said.