International Women’s Day in Tech: A Speechmatics Spotlight

Posted on 8.3.2022

We sat down with Speechmatics’ Head of Sales EMEA, Paolina White, to discuss the role women play in technology today.

On 8 March 2022, International Women’s Day once again puts a deserved limelight on women. At Speechmatics, our aim is to understand every voice. In the technology we create, we have the most inclusive, powerful Autonomous Speech Recognition (ASR) technology on the market.

Internally, we want our employees to aspire towards better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the company and industry.

Despite a 2020 report saying more diverse companies “perform better, hire better talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion,” technology has long been a male-dominated industry. In fact, just 22% of technology directors are women.

To better understand the role women play in the technology sector beyond the statistics, we asked Paolina White, Speechmatics’ Head of Sales EMEA, a few questions.

Q: What have your experiences been like as a woman in technology?

Paolina: “Mostly positive in the last 20 years. I think a lot of barriers have been brought down about it being a male-dominant environment. That said, I have probably had to push the envelope and be more forthright in some boardroom situations to ensure that my view and suggestions were as valued as some of my male peers.”

Q: 81% of women believe the technology industry would benefit from having a gender-equal workforce. How do you think Speechmatics and the technology sector would benefit?

Paolina: “Speechmatics are pretty much on point apart from maybe in some of the engineering teams. Look at our leader! A superbly smart and engaging CEO. The technology sector, in general, would benefit as women in the industry, not just tech, bring a different dimension of thinking. Naturally, we are programmed to nurture, whether we have children or not, and that “nurturing gene” enables women to view and affect a different perspective in decision making, that is more often than not, agnostic and empathetic but delivers the same outcome without tension.”

Q: Female representation in the technology sector has stalled over the last 10 years. Why do you think that is?

Paolina: “Sadly I believe this stems from school education and university places available for women in tech. We blame the Fortune 500 companies for being discriminative but the attitude that men in tech are more capable is driven from the early years of education, or lack of it, that women can and are as successful as men. Look at Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Dell; all-male leaders and well deserved but there are also many large organizations headed up and founded by women, they get overlooked as they are not household names in our everyday vocabulary.

It doesn’t bother me or concern me. I believe that everyone who believes in themselves and strives for success, will flourish and be discovered, whether it’s within a small startup or a multimillion-dollar organization. Sound travels, voices get heard.”

Paolina offers up a wonderful insight into the true role of women in technology, at least from her experience. While the statistics are fairly damning, it’s encouraging Paolina feels as though she has a level playing field with the rest of Speechmatics’ workforce.

A more gender-equal workforce isn’t about ticking the corporate boxes. Instead, it’s about offering women the opportunity to provide a different opinion. Or, as Paolina puts it, “a different dimension of thinking.” On this International Women’s Day, this comes as a prompt reminder.

We at Speechmatics understand the importance of appreciating every voice more than most. That starts with an equal workforce and putting people first – one of our most important values.

Max Phillips, Junior Content Writer, Speechmatics

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