Happy International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, and so far this week we’ve heard from several IP Inclusive supporters – including members of our Women in IP committee – about how they’ve seen the gender balance shift during their careers and the changes they’d like to see in future.

Today we begin with some words from Julia Florence, patent attorney and President of CIPA. Before her retirement in the autumn of 2018, Julia worked in-house at GSK, but her career began in 1978 and included both in-house and private practice roles.

She told us:

“When I joined the profession in 1978 very few women returned to work after having a baby. By the early 90s there was a trend to start a family once your career was established and to return to work full time for those lucky enough to find good child care. We simply had to behave like men.

“Then came an increasing acceptance of longer maternity leave and part-time working. And finally in some enlightened firms men are beginning to take longer paternity leave and even shared parental leave. I hope to see this direction of travel continue, giving greater choice and flexibility to parents whatever their gender.”


We think it’s of note that so many of the people who’ve contributed to our blog posts about #BalanceforBetter – both male and female – have mentioned flexible working arrangements and parental leave. It seems that by improving things that were traditionally thought of as women’s concerns, employers are not only creating a more balanced workforce but also improving the work-life balance for people of all genders.

In this and so many other ways, #Balance certainly is #Better. And our journey towards it is not only for women.


Page published on 8th March 2019
Page last modified on 21st March 2019
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