By Mehr Nadeem

“The data show that people of color are particularly unlikely to hold intellectual property,” the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington think tank, said in a report released on Tuesday. Overall, less than 19 percent of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had a female inventor listed, according to the most recent data, compiled in 2015.

The report found that “despite being less likely to hold intellectual property rights than men, women-owned businesses still report actively engaging in innovative activities and generally do so at rates at least as high as men-owned business.”

“Innovation is how we come up with solutions to the most pressing challenges that are facing our society today,” said Jessica Milli, one of the report’s co-authors. Without input from all sexes and ethnic groups, some issues get overlooked and “you get solutions that only work for a small portion of the population.”

The report also shows that there is a link between patents and the success of a business. The under-representation of women is therefore “troubling because their limited access to that process holds them back, to some extent, from realizing their full potential,” Milli said.

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