30 years in tech has seen some progress
When I was asked if I would like to contribute a blog item on Women in Tech I seriously wondered if I was the right person to do it. You see I have never thought of myself as a Woman in Tech. I am simply a person doing a job I love in what I see as one of the most exciting industries around.
Before I got involved in IT and Telecoms the most technical position I had held was designing and selling photovoltaic system for electrical power at remote locations. I never really thought of it as a technological role at the time. Maybe that is one of the reasons for my success. Technology has never seems unobtainable to me, it has just seemed a challenge of the job and I have always loved challenges.
My sister was involved in technology and my father and both my brothers are engineers. I suppose you could say technology was in our blood but I think rather that fear of technology was never taught to us. Maybe my parents were ahead of their time in never trying to teach us to conform to traditional roles.
Being educated in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Greece certainly did not give me a lot of strong female local role models. The wonderful thing about technology and engineering subjects in general is that they are for the most part logical and factual, and therefore in my humble opinion so much easier to deal with than the many shades of grey and public opinion that effects so many professions.
The IT and Telecoms industry is demanding and fast moving and to succeed you need to be logical, organised and dedicated. Above all you need to stay up to date which involves constant ongoing reading and discussions through networking groups. You can’t bluff it, if you are going to succeed you need to understand the industry and the technology.
I am aware that at the ripe age of 30 I achieved the distinction of becoming a Director and that over the following years I have continued to be one of the few women at board level, but I have always felt I could do the job, and I have certainly never felt that I achieved a position on anything but merit.
I do recall one position from which I resigned in disgust when I discovered that my male colleague was earning substantially more that I was for essentially the same work. I would have done the same if it had been a female colleague and I have never felt either discriminated against or held back by my sex. OK I recognise I have different personality characteristics from my, mostly male, counterparts but this has never seemed like an advantage or otherwise. It is just who we are.
30 years ago I did often find myself the only woman in the room. This was at first in meetings, then attending seminars or conferences and finally as my experience increased as the only women speaker at many industry events. But the people I met at these events whether as a delegate or as a speaker where not interested in me as a woman. They were interested in what I knew or had to contribute and so everyone at the event started on an equal footing.
Over the years the number of women in the industry has steadily increased and I am delighted to have met some lovely women that I now count amongst my friends.
Technology is great, it is exciting, it is fun. It is rarely boring and often challenging and in my experience you are respected for what you know and can do and for who you are. The IT and Telecoms industries are a wonderful place to work and I would, and have, encouraged any young person to get involved in a field that can be so rewarding.
Other posts in our women in tech week include: