The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative: Celebrating and Advancing the Role of Women in IP

Published: March 15, 2020

March 8, 2020, was International Women’s Day. INTA celebrated the day by announcing the launch of “The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative.” This ambitious project is designed to champion and advance women’s leadership in intellectual property (IP), through which INTA aims to simultaneously acknowledge the important role of women in the IP field and provide sustained programs to help women in the Association’s community advance their careers and achieve professional success.

Women are increasingly taking on leadership roles in different areas of the legal arena, and the contribution of female professionals across industries, including IP, is being recognized. For example, in 2018, World IP Day celebrated the positive impact of women on innovation and creativity. Despite the progress achieved, women continue to be underrepresented in some business sectors, including in law firms. However, diversity and representation of women in IP does fair better than in other law firm practice areas, according to Diversity Lab’s 2019 Inclusion Blueprint Report. A conclusion of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, published by the World Economic Forum, that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years, is startling and concerning.

Through The Women’s LeadershIP Initiative, INTA will work to reverse the underrepresentation of women and bridge the career development and leadership gaps for women in IP globally. The initiative aligns with the priorities of INTA 2020 President Ayala Deutsch (NBA Properties, Inc., USA), as well as the Association’s long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion and other aspects of corporate social responsibility. “INTA’s new women’s initiative comes at a pivotal time, when we can leverage the long-overdue focus on gender equality that’s emerging from all different business sectors and all different parts of the world,” noted Ms. Deutsch in an INTA press release announcing the initiative.

This initiative is tied to the general focus and strategic direction of the Association, aligning with INTA’s long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion, and broader goals around corporate social responsibility. The Association is committed to growing the initiative beyond this year, into a sustained program that actively champions women as leaders in IP.

The project is structured into different phases, starting with internal collection and analysis of data about diversity within INTA and within the IP legal profession. Indeed, within the Association, the number of women in leadership positions is notable: since 2000, 10 INTA presidents, including Ms. Deutsch, have been women; and currently, five of the six Officers of the Board of Directors, 15 of the 30 Members of the Board, and 31 of the 70 committee chairs and vice chairs are women.

Among the various activities planned for the initiative are workshops promoting the exchange of views among women on issues such as gender parity, career development and work-life integration, networking, and educational events. Further, INTA intends to develop targeted content highlighting the talent of women in IP, promote tools and skills needed for their professional growth, and run social media campaigns sharing their experiences and celebrating the achievements of women in IP.