The annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, which gauges Americans’ perceptions about invention and innovation, this year surveyed young men and women ages 16 – 25. Almost three in four young women (71 percent) indicate they are creative, the characteristic they most associate with inventors (63 percent); however, less than one in three (27 percent) describe themselves as inventive. Men also follow this trend; 66 percent say they are creative but only 39 percent describe themselves as inventive.
Young women show a strong affinity for math and science, with 42 percent rating these as their favorite subjects in school. More than half of male respondents (53 percent) agree.
The survey also reveals that young women and men do not see the U.S. as leading the way in invention; 61 percent of young women view Japan as the leader, with the U.S. ranking second at 27 percent. Young men agree, choosing Japan first (54 percent) and the U.S. second (36 percent).
Nearly half (49 percent) of young women are most interested in pursuing invention to improve the lives of others, while 38% of young men are also motivated to invent to improve lives. 58 percent of the female respondents would make a health science or consumer product invention their top priority; men’s inventive interest is geared towards consumer products or web-based inventions (54 percent).