Remote access meeting, Social, Women in IP

Informal online get-togethers
with Women in IP

Tuesday 15 February 2022
8.30 am


Photo of cups of coffeeOur first Women in IP coffee date of 2022 addressed the theme of “invisible labour” in the office, sometimes called “office housework”. This article from Forbes explains the concept, and this article from the World Economic Forum outlines some of the consequences.

“Office housework” can range from taking on minor organisational tasks (eg because “It’s easier to just do it myself”) and pouring the coffee in meetings, to taking on the burden of supporting the wellbeing of colleagues. This can be work that is not recognised, meaning it holds back career progression because others concentrate on more visible work. It can also lead to burn-out. It is thought this issue disproportionally affects women.

The coffee date was held at 8.30 am on Tuesday 15 February 2022. We used the following questions as the basis for discussion in breakout groups:

  1. Have you come across the concepts of “invisible labour” and “office housework” before? Do you think you (if a woman) engaged in this behaviour? Do you think you (if a man) engaged in this behaviour yourself or unconsciously allowed women to do it?
  2. What steps can you take (or have you taken) to minimise this behaviour in yourself or to help others?
  3. What can companies do to reduce this type of behaviour and its impact, which disproportionately falls on women?

Thanks to Marianne Privett of AA Thornton for suggesting this excellent topic for discussion. Thank you also to our volunteer hosts: Anne-Marie Conn of Abel + Imray, Catherine Coombes of Murgitroyd, Gail Nicol of Cameron Intellectual Property and Claire O’Brien of Mills & Reeve.

There was also a Dublin version of the event, kindly hosted by Marie Walsh at HGF in association with Women in IP: for details, please contact Marie at [email protected].

This event was run by Isobel Barry of Carpmaels & Ransford. If you have any queries or ideas for future sessions, or would like to volunteer to host a discussion, please contact her on [email protected].



As for our September and December 2021 coffee dates, this was held as a single online event with discussions taking place in smaller breakout rooms to give people plenty of chance to chat. For future coffee dates we may use a mixture of this format and sets of separate events hosted from different regional locations. We’d welcome your thoughts on this: please email Isobel Barry or Emily Teesdale.



Our coffee dates are open to all UK-based IP professionals. We welcome people of all genders.



This event was free. So are all our resources. We think it’s important to keep IP Inclusive the right side of the paywall.

That said, we do need money to keep the show on the road, so if you enjoyed the event please consider contributing to our 2021-22 fundraising campaign. For more information – including about corporate donations – visit our fundraising page here.

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