By Laura Santhanam

Today, women hold less than one out of five STEM-related patents, and it’s been slow growth just to make it that far.

Still, that’s a huge rise since 1977 when women were awarded only 3 percent of all patents. By 1996, that figure had only gone up 10 percentage points.

And there’s still a long way to go, said Jessica Milli, who led a recent  study that explored this issue for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. At the rate it’s climbing now, it will be 2072 before women are awarded as many STEM patents as men, according to the institute.

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