Whittington, K. (2011). Mothers of invention: Gender, motherhood, and new dimensions of productivity in the science profession. Work and Occupations, 38(3), 417-456.
- The study's objective was to determine whether women, specifically mothers, in STEM academic or industry jobs were less likely to participate in the patenting process than fathers and childless men in the same field. In addition, the study sought to examine whether previous experience with patenting reduced gender or motherhood inequalities in patenting participation.
- The study analyzed survey data from the April 1995 and April 2001 waves of the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a longitudinal study of research doctorates conducted by the National Science Foundation. The author restricted the sample to scientists in four-year colleges and in business or industry who worked in computer and mathematical sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering; were active in applied and basic research, development, or design; and worked full time. Respondents were asked if they had been named as an inventor on a U.S. patent application in the past five or six years. The author estimated logistic regression models to determine whether females, and specifically mothers, were less likely to have received a patent in the past five or six years. The author also conducted additional analyses to determine if previous experience with patenting affected patenting participation.
- The study found that in academia, among those surveyed at both rounds, mothers were no less likely to patent than males, including fathers, or childless females after controlling for prior patenting experience. In industry, among those surveyed in both rounds, married, childless women were less likely to patent than childless women, even after controlling for prior patenting experience. The authors estimated numerous other models that found mixed effects of gender, marital status, and parenthood on the likelihood of scientists participating in patenting activities.
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