For this year's edition of Gallup's Conversations on International Women's Day, we focus on the experiences of four female interviewers in Latin America: Ana, Maria, Daniela and Andrea. We have changed their names to protect their identities. All are veteran interviewers with at least a decade of experience.
Ana and Maria, both 40, live in Venezuela, an oil-rich country beset by political discontent, shortages of food and medicine and rampant crime. Daniela, 42, and Andrea, 50, live in another Latin American petrostate, Ecuador, which has also seen its fair share of recent political unrest.
Gallup: Aside from earning a paycheck, why do you do this type of work?
Ana: I like connecting with people. I love to walk and talk with people and find out what they think. I love doing surveys because even though you may get tired sometimes, it's a lot of fun to learn about different types of people and cultures.
Andrea: I love what I do. I am a sociologist, so I really enjoy having contact with people and learning new things every day from them. Doing this job, I feel I grow as a person.
Maria: Doing this work makes me feel important and it gives me knowledge. I am learning about the problems in my country firsthand.
Gallup: Can you tell me about one of the toughest situations you've been in as an interviewer? What happened and what did you do?
Ana: The toughest situation I've ever been in was the day a thief tried to rob me while I was working. Of the 12 years that I have been working as interviewer, that was the worst moment. I shouted, stayed still, and tried to save the tablet with the information on it.
Daniela: Once when I was doing a project in a small town, a dog suddenly came and bit me. But this didn't stop me. I checked the bite and realized he had mostly gotten my pants. I continued on and completed the interviews needed. This was my responsibility. I will certainly never forget it.
Gallup: How do you feel when you interview women in your country? How do you think they feel to be asked questions? Do they tell you?
Daniela: I identify with them. Many times, we have the same concerns and problems. The women in Ecuador respond without fear and with honesty.
Andrea: Unfortunately, here in our country [Ecuador], like other Latin American countries, women are not treated fairly. It is very different interviewing a woman than a man. Why? Because the women let off steam, especially if another woman is doing the interview. They share things that maybe they don't with their families.
Maria: In Venezuela, there is a saying that women are "clearer than the river water." I ask the questions, read them slowly so that they understand me, and I don't have to repeat. They answer right away without fear and without taboo.