At Smartmatic we have an important group of women who give their best every day to facilitate democratic participation
February 11, 2022
According to the 2021 UNESCO Science Report, the percentage of women who study engineering, construction and information and communication technologies (ICT) is below 25% in more than two thirds of countries worldwide. UNESCO also notes that women only make up 33% of the world's researchers and still hold fewer senior positions than men at top universities.
Although this data may seem discouraging, the statistics on women's access to higher education invite optimism. At the end of 2020-21, women made up almost 60% of college students in the US, an all-time high according to the National Student Clearinghouse.
At Smartmatic we have an important group of women who give their best every day to facilitate democratic participation, making elections more inclusive. We are proud that these professionals help design and implement solutions that give voice – through voting – to millions of women around the world. On this International Day of Girls and Women in Science and STEM, we want to celebrate the importance of their efforts for greater gender equality.
Larissa Herrera, Product Manager at Smartmatic, is optimistic about the evolution taking place in many countries. In the past, it was taken for granted that women were not good enough to hold positions in tech companies. "Times are changing. Today you can see a lot of women holding top executive positions in different business areas in STEM industries.”
Larissa can attest first-hand to the progress in large tech deployments in which she has been involved. “I have seen how people who did not believe in the technical skills of women when it comes to an election, begin to trust you after a few initial conversations. From what I have seen, those who still do not believe are a minority,” says Larissa.
Product Manager Shari Little shares Larissa's opinion. “Women in STEM careers today are becoming important role models for young women, reducing gender stereotypes in cultures where the male role still dominates.” Shari sees the election industry as a great field of work for women working in STEM careers. “In an industry where more than 60% of election administrators and authorities are women, I would say that election technology is a great opportunity for us, because it combines different types of products and technology that requires varied perspectives to achieve have the best solutions and services on the industry.”
For Zoey Lin, Hardware Designer at Smartmatic, being part of the election technology industry is an excellent way to bolster her professional development and, at the same time, contribute to the bolstering democracy. “The essence behind the election technology that we deploy is the strengthening of democracy. For me it is a point of pride to be part of an effort to make them better each time.”
Achieving gender equality in the scientific arena still represents a great challenge. At Smartmatic we are proud of the work of the women who today help develop and implement our state-of-the art voting technology. Building more egalitarian and democratic societies involves improving citizen participation processes. We will continue working for gender equality, one vote at a time.