FROM A NEWSLETTER TO THIS WEB
Eight (8) issues of
a 4-page biannual newsletter, IFIA-WIN, were published from January-June 1995 to
July-December 1999. Since early 2000, it was decided to cease the publication of the
newsletter and to develop, instead, a substantial Web presence on Women, which now
includes inter alia the relevant basic information previously published. The role of this
Web page remains, above all, that of a catalyst in support of IFIA-WIN main objective.
OUR WOMEN IN BEIJING
"Women inventors are here today," or "Join the good company of
creative inventive women: IFIA-WIN"! were the messages on the table of
our booth. ... Women inventors? Who are they? - I could read our visitors'
minds. One woman, catching on to what it was all about, exclaimed, "What an
idea! Great! Terrific!"
It had taken us women inventors several months to coordinate this first IFIA
Illustrative Women Inventors Exhibit for the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in
Beijing. Our exhibit was in Huairu, near Beijing, in the framework of the NGO Forum
'95 on women (August 30 to September 8, 1995). Our booth was in the OFAN (Once and
Future Action Network) Pavilion. OFAN was created for the Beijing events, to tackle
women's issues in the field of science and technology. The IFIA booth had posters of
women inventors and their inventions representing 11 countries: Argentina, Canada, Cuba,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, the Philippines and Sweden.
We arrived on August 29, a young Finnish woman, a volunteer and myself, to put
up the exhibition. Later, women inventors - members of the IFIA family - discovered
their way to our booth in quick succession: Dr Choo Yuen May, Malaysia; Ms Carlita
Rex-Doran, Philippines; Dr Gladys Hernandez, Cuba; and Ms Synnove Engeset, Norway.
After corresponding with them for months and not knowing if they could make it to China,
it was exciting meeting them there.
It is impossible to estimate how many women visited our booth. What is
certain is that it attracted attention by introducing a new role model: woman
inventor. Four journalists said they were going to write about women
inventors in their countries. Our scientist inventors, Dr Gladys Hernandez and
Dr Choo Yuen May, were interviewed for a film. Myself, I interviewed hundreds of
women, asking them if they knew of any women inventors in their own country. Only
very few said yes, which makes the informative value of our IFIA exhibit even more
IFIA-OSEC COLLECTIVE BOOTH IN
FOR WOMEN FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
(April 10 to 20, 1997)
Thanks to the Swiss Office for Trade Promotion (OSEC), IFIA was able to set up a
collective booth for women inventors from developing countries at the 1997 Geneva
International Exhibition of Inventions.
|covered the cost of a well situated 50mē booth,|
|assumed expenses (hotel & meals) for six women participants,|
|offered a global sum of SFr. 2,500 (approx. US$ 2,000 at the time) as awards.
This sum was divided as follows: First Prize: SFr. 1,000 Second Prize: SFr. 700
Third Prize: SFr. 300 and five encouragement prizes of SFr. 100
|sent invitation letters to its members from 33 developing countries;|
|selected inventions of eight women from Argentina, Cuba, Peru, Philippines and
|set up and decorated the collective booth;|
|gave general assistance and guidance to the inventors.|
The first three prizes were awarded as follows:
First Prize: Ms Neelakanthi Ekanayake Gunawardena (Sri Lanka), for her
invention "Chemical attractant system and a method to trap the adult coconut pest, Rhynchophorus
Second Prize: Ms Mirta Mabel Fasci (Argentina), for her invention of a new
design for plastic bottles with multiple uses. Also the winner of IFIA Cup.
Third Prize: Ms Carlita Doran (Philippines), for her invention "Forest
The inventions were judged equally with every other invention presented at the
Geneva Fair. Thus, they were eligible and obtained, other prizes, distinctions, medals,
etc., awarded during the Fair, including the IFIA Cup and the WIPO Award (Gold Medal, plus
In the IFIA-OSEC booth from left to right: Ms Gaby
Matsumoto (Peru): incubator for babies in risk; two Geneva Exhibition hostesses; Ms Mirta
Mabel Fasci (Argentina, see above second prize); Ms Neelakanthi E. Gunawardena (Sri Lanka,
see above first prize); Ms Erlinda Sanqui (Philippines): instant pinakbet flavoring
composition; and Ms Carlita Doran (Philippines, see above third prize).
COMMERCIALIZATION OF INVENTIONS
IFIA launched on November 15, 1999 a virtual showcase of
inventions and new products, now called <1000inventions>. For an analysis of the women inventions
published among the first 500 inventions posted on 1000inventions, go to our Women
Inventors webpage Statistics and click on Inventions on IFIA <1000inventions>. The search references of
each of the 88 inventions by women (as of September 23, 2003) are listed.
You can visit IFIA 1000inventions website at:
IFIA published the following two books:
Women Inventors Organizations:
by Farag Moussa. Published in English, Chinese, 104 pages with illustrations, 44
illustrations. US $15.
A reference book, if you wish to learn more about women inventors organizations, or wish
to create a similar organization in your own country. Written by IFIA
President, this book was sponsored by UNIFEM (the United Nations Fund for Women).
Women from the Philippines
and Selected Developing Countries
by Farag Moussa.
English, 128 pages with illustrations, US$15.
Prices include handling and mailing.
Copies will be mailed on receipt of cheques in the name of IFIA
(credit cards not accepted).
THE MARIE CURIE
First published: August 23, 2002
In 1997, on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Marie Curie's birth (November 7),
IFIA suggested the creation of a "Marie Curie Medal" to be awarded for the first
time that year.
During the first 50 years of its existence, Unesco had established 42 medals. All these
medals featured men. At the suggestion of IFIA President, the 43rd medal paid tribute to
the genius of a woman, at last. Due credit was given to the role of IFIA by Unesco.
See below Unesco webpage.
Sklodowska Curie Medal
In order to celebrate the 130th anniversary of
Marie Curie's birth and underline women's role in the field of science, UNESCO will
present the first UNESCO medal with a woman's effigy (Marie Curie, born Maria Sklodowska).
This project was initiated by the Unit for the
Promotion of the Status of Women and Gender Equality in collaboration with the
International Federation of Inventors' Associations and the Polish Permanent Delegation.
The medal was designed by a Polish woman, Magdalena
At the end of 1997, the Association of Polish Inventors and Rationalizers (SPWIR), also
followed IFIA President's suggestion, by creating and awarding its own "Marie Curie
Medal". Let us remember that Marie Curie was Polish by birth.
It is to be noted that both medals, the Unesco and the Polish medals, are awarded to women
and men alike.