Margaret Dawson, from Red Hat, on Equality and Diversity in Tech

The senior director of global product marketing says she is very aware of the many challenges faced by women in this male-dominated industry. Previously with companies Hewlett Packard, Hubspan, Symform and Napera Networks, Dawson has been working in this industry for many years. She admits that she is taking up the challenge of increasing equality and diversity in this industry sector.

Dawson has taken it upon herself to travel the country and deliver her speech entitled ‘Snort Out Loud’, which illustrates the point that there is a reluctance on the part of women to pursue a career in tech, for fear of being discouraged.

Her speech brings up five calls to action:

  • Women affirming women
  • Less tears, more ‘kicks in the butt’
  • More intentional hiring of women
  • More female only tech conferences
  • Embracing feminism, and all it entails

Talking to Channel Partners, Dawson was asked about her key to surviving and thriving in the male-dominated industry. Dawson started out in Detroit in the motor industry, which was very male-dominated at that time. She admits that she loved the technology and was passionate about muscle cars. Her constant curiosity and passion about the job served her well as Dawson then transitioned to technology.

Being willing to take risks and have her own opinion was an advantage. Dawson feels that many women are averse to taking risks, and this is one reason they hold back from leadership positions.

When asked if progress is being made in equality and diversity, Dawson admitted that she felt we were not seeing an increase in this sector. On occasion numbers had fallen even lower, with fewer women in computer science than ever. This was a real concern for her.

Dawson feels that the underlying problems may go back as far as school years where girls are seldom pushed into math or science. There is still a culture that some subjects are ‘male orientated’. One example she gave was instead of writing that speech for your male colleague, why not write it and give the speech yourself?

When asked who would need to be involved to make an improvement in terms of women in tech, Dawson feels that parenting can make a huge impact on the career choice of girls. Fathers can have a great influence on this area.

Dawson said that the feedback from her program has been overwhelmingly positive, with almost every person she talks to agreeing with this viewpoint. Dawson says that she remains optimistic that she will see changes in the tech industry in the future. She is convinced that if everyone starts by making small changes we will see continued growth in this area. If more people adopt a different thinking pattern, then eventually equality and diversity in the industry will be clearly seen.


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