One in four design or model applicants in Europe is a woman

23,7% of applicants for designs or models from the European Union are women, reveals a study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, published on 26 April. With a rate of 26,1%, France is slightly above the European average.

Design applicants will be as numerous as their male counterparts… in 51 years. This is revealed by the study* published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (European Union Intellectual Property Office - EUIPO) on April 26, on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day, dedicated this year to women.

only 23,7% of design applicants from the European Union (EU) are women, over the period 2003-2022. There are notable differences between EU Member States, with the proportion of female design applicants ranging from 17% in the Netherlands to 33% in Latvia. With a rate of 26,1%, France is slightly above the European average.
Outside the EU, the proportion of design applicants is higher, notably in South Korea (50%), China (40%) and the United States (nearly 40%).


One in four design or model applicants in Europe is a woman


Furthermore, female designers who file designs or models earn on average 12,8% less than their male counterparts. Factors such as age, the working conditions specific to each country, the specificities of the positions held, the high presence of female designers in public organizations (where the salaries studied are on average lower than those in the private sector), can largely explain this pay gap.


Pharmaceuticals, ornamental and textile products lead women's creations


The three classes from the international classification known as “Locarno” ** which account for the largest number of applications made by women designers – more than a third of applications between them - are the following:

  • la 28 class - Pharmaceutical or cosmetic products, toiletries and equipment for beauty care; hair, beards, mustaches and hairpieces;
  • la 11 class - Ornamental objects: jewelery and jewellery; trinkets, table, mantelpiece or wall ornaments, vases and flower pots; medals and badges; artificial flowers, plants and fruits; flags, party decorations;
  • la 5 class - Unmade textile articles, sheets of artificial or natural material; yarns; laces; embroidery; ribbons, braids and other trimmings; fabrics and fabrics.


Designs mainly created by men apply, for their part, to classes 17 (musical instruments – 90% male designers), 22 (weapons, pyrotechnic articles, articles for hunting, fishing and destroying vermin – 85%), 25 (constructions and construction elements – 85%) and 8 (tools and hardware – 85%).

* The “Women and Design” study, published by the EUIPO in April 2023, is based on 670 registered Community designs (Registered Community Design - RCD) and 210 designers from EUIPO and World dictionary of first names classified by gender of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

** All designs designated in a filing must be applied to products belonging to the same category, also called “class”.

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