Gender dynamics and intellectual property law
"Go ahead and do it. Don't ask! Its much easier to apologise than ask for permission. You can't afford to wait." These are the words of Grace Hopper to women inventors. These words of encouragement are an echo of agony that women go through in the field of inventions and innovations due to non-recognition. It is a fallacy to argue that women are treated in an equal way in terms of recognition as their male counter parts. This is because it is well documented that all societies recognises some sort of gender differentiation stratification- a rank ordering men and women that signifies the unequal distribution of power and resources. Of continuos attention and special interest is the concentration of women in occupations with low wages, low prestige and thus hindering their inventive potential. This inequality manifests itself in all spheres of women's lives be it social, economic political and cultural where it is magnified by a much deeper form of inequality. There are also legal constraints. Education opportunities for girls are not the same as for men. Access to resources of whatever form is hard for women due to the cultural institutions in place, which perpetuate the system of patriarchy. Emergence of capitalism has widened the gap further by placing women at the periphery in terms of access to resources. The relegation of women to the periphery where resources seem so far has senous implications on the nature of women inventions and innovations. For instance in the field of patents, a lot of research has to be done, time and money must be present. This automatically puts out women because they play threefold roles viz.: mothers, wives and working women. The issue of time and resources is particularly very crucial especially in developing countries women are taken to be the custodians of the home and must take care of children and their husbands. This dissertation is geared to establishing the constraints that the law governing intellectual property puts on women thus hindering their potential to invent and innovate. This dissertation is divided into four chapters. Chapter one will deal with the history of women inventors and innovators. This is to create a background from which to develop analytical progress of women's inventions and innovations upto date. Chapter two will deal with law governing intellectual property law in Kenya and its impact on women inventors and innovators with a brief comparative analysis of the law in developed countries. Chapter three will deal with he factors that hinder the advancement of women inventors and innovators Chapter four will deal with some proposals for reforming the system to take into account women's needs in the field of inventions and innovations.