Who are the Real Mothers of Invention?
In today's Civil Beat, an online Hawaii public affairs outlet created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, inventor Lisa Brothers writes about how Patsy Mink's Title IX legislation intersects with pending patent legislation, mothers, and the US road to innovation.
Brothers is a single mother and nurse, who received her nursing degree when her daughter was four years old. In "The Mothers of Invention Are Good for the Country," she points out that true innovation comes from individuals who are passionate about an idea and are willing to fight for it against all odds, and she expresses concerns about legislation currently being considered by the US Senate that will weaken the ability of women to build on educational opportunities and invent a better future. According to Brothers, if this legislation passes, enforcing patents will be more expensive and financially risky than it already is for small inventors who think outside the box — often women, mothers, people of color, and others without extensive resources.
In addition to crediting Patsy Mink's work on Title IX for assisting in her access to higher education, Brothers quotes Mink's views on patents and innovation from ten years ago:
"Mr. Speaker, our nation's founders designed our society to be a land of unfettered opportunity … H.R. 1907 places at risk the right to enjoy the benefits generated by a person's ingenuity and innovative ideas. Without this right, we strangle the incentive for people to create and develop vital products and services which could improve our daily lives and bolster our economy."
This may seem like an unusual topic for a MomsRising blog post, but as the author of Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, I know that there are countless ways that legislation and infrastructure can support women's and mothers' abilities to fully participate in our economy while raising families -- and countless ways that laws and policies can put up barriers for those who are not "on the inside." I also know that when women, mothers, parents. and others who represent the diversity of our country are supported, our society and economy benefit.