March 8th celebrates International Women's Day. But interesting data analysis from Vietnam shows how few women participate in the development of technology in society. Women make up over 40 % of scientific researchers in Vietnam, which is far higher than elsewhere in the SE Asian region. This is a function of its focus on equality in education and a focus on and science in the last 30 years.
However, when it comes to outputs there is a different picture. Of 1,134 Vietnamese individual patent applications from 2008-12 less than 9 percent were from women. This represents a huge underperformance, partly due to women taking fewer science and technology leadership roles. This is markedly worse than the global deficit in women's patent output but probably not unusual in SE Asia. International recognition of the benefits and advantages women bring to R&D and innovation is now widely recognized. If countries could harness this, a huge step forward in knowledge economies would be possible.