STEM careers, an opportunity to get out of the comfort zone

To discuss the challenges of young women in STEM, we interviewed three women who play key roles in Smartmatic

April 22, 2021

STEM careers, an opportunity to get out of the comfort zone


“Even though the number of women working in STEM around the world has increased, women are still very underrepresented. My best advice to women wanting to pursue a career in the tech industry is to not feel intimidated. Let your work performance, ethics and rich knowledge speak for you.” These words from Alaba Olumegbon, project manager at Smartmatic, reveal the determination with which she and many other women have built successful careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

In the last 50 years, the number of women working in critical fields has increased markedly. However, according to United Nations’ figures, women still represent only 33% of scientific researchers; 28% of engineering, physics and mathematics graduates; and only 40% of graduates in computer-related fields. This is worrisome, since these are the professions that are leading the digital revolution today and will move the world tomorrow.

To discuss the challenges of young women in STEM, we interviewed three women who play key roles in Smartmatic’s development, innovation and engineering teams: Alaba Olumegbon, PMO project manager, and Iveth Palma and Tanisha Salazar Scott, who are both quality assurance senior engineers.

Iveth tells us that a key to developing a career in this field has been "being your own best cheerleader." For Iveth, challenges represent learning and improvement opportunities that allow her to show what she can become. This optimistic approach has allowed her to keep rowing in the face of adversity.

UN Secretary General António Guterres believes that “without more women in STEM, the world will continue to be designed by and for men, and the potential of girls and women will remain untapped.” He also noted that "greater diversity fosters greater innovation."

Tanisha Salazar Scott agrees with the UN chief. She believes that women on technology teams can bring a different and innovative points of view. "The ability of women to reinvent themselves, organize, project, and grow in the midst of adversity can contribute new and valuable ideas that result in great innovations that can benefit humanity."

Iveth feels that “non-traditional careers give women the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and do extraordinary things … taking on challenges that allow them to be strong without losing their kindness.”

Tanisha adds that there is always the opportunity to learn something new and grow as a professional. In the world of technology there are many things to learn. “We cannot allow fear of the unknown to paralyze us. We must face new challenges with optimism and a good attitude.”

Although there is still a long way to go when it comes to gender equality, it is comforting to know that both in Smartmatic and other companies today there are female leaders who send powerful messages with their actions. For Alaba, the future still holds challenges, but being part of a tech company has helped her “get her voice, a strong and representative voice.” We hope that by listening to Alaba, Tanisha and Iveth, many other young women will find inspiration to continue breaking down barriers.

Let's all celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science!