Friday 8 March 2019 is International Women’s Day. Its theme this year is #BalanceforBetter. So we asked some IP Inclusive supporters, including members of our Women in IP committee, how they’ve seen the gender balance shift during their careers and how they’d like to see it change in the future. We’ll be publishing their thoughts in a series of blog posts on and around the day itself.

We’ll kick off with some words from Emily Teesdale, patent attorney and partner at Abel & Imray, and Andrew Sunderland, patent attorney and senior associate at Haseltine Lake, both Women in IP committee members.

Emily writes:

I remember getting a bit of a shock when changing from my all girls senior school to an engineering degree (where I was 1 out of 9 girls in a class of 90).

Obviously, I knew that engineering was considered more of a boy’s subject, it just had never occurred to me that other girls had been put off from taking it to quite that extent. Of course, great strides are being made to increase the numbers of women choosing degrees and careers in STEM, and we should be playing our part in that. However, we also need to take responsibility for increasing the numbers of women in senior roles. The “technology area” argument holds little weight when you consider the opposite phenomenon when it comes to law/language degrees and the number of women with a background in chemistry/biological sciences. We are moving in the right direction across the industry but now is not the time to sit back. Only by doing everything we can, can we expect to get anywhere near truly balanced in our lifetimes. To me, that is a very sobering thought. Shared parental leave, for example, is helping, but it needs to be something we as businesses and community members embrace and encourage. To my mind, we want to get to a point where it is 50:50 as to which partner in a relationship may take time off or be the main carer, for children, as well as elderly relatives etc.

And here’s what Andrew told us:

My start in the IP profession was probably quite atypical, in that my immediate team of electronics patent attorneys seemed to have a good balance of men and women all the way to the top, and even now my team has four equity partners; two men and two women. On reflection, my experience of working life has probably been different to most people’s experience in that I have always had female bosses. Expand out to the wider profession of patent attorneys and the male/female balance becomes much less, well… balanced.

Looking at my peers (both from my firm and others) however, I see a much more balanced and generally diverse group than has ever come before. My hope is that this will translate into more diversity all the way to equity partner level in the future and that each subsequent generation will be more diverse than the last.


Page published on 4th March 2019
Page last modified on 23rd March 2019
Read More

Comments: (0):

Leave a Reply