Red Hat’s Margaret Dawson: ‘We’re Really Not’ Seeing Equality, Diversity in Tech

Women in Technology

… so ingrained that it’s literally every person who needs to change it.

CP: What sort of feedback have you received regarding your five calls to action, and your talk in general?

MD: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and there’s never been a single person who I’ve spoken to that that doesn’t resonate with. And I think the question is, whether it’s the five calls to action or whatever are the key things that we think need to happen, everyone nods their heads and says, “Oh, that’s so true. “But putting that into action is very hard. For example, take intentionally promoting and hire women. Everyone nods their head, “Oh yeah, we need to intentionally hire and promote women” … but to do that is hard work. Or if you say, “We’re going to intentionally hire a more diverse workforce … ” OK, so does that mean we’re going to go to different colleges and we’re going to do different things?

The more I can tell the story, the more I can be intentional in what I doing and that can have ripple effects. If everyone just finds their one thing … every little thing makes a difference. It’s going to ripple effect, but every person has to be intentional.

CP: Sounds like you remain optimistic that one day the tech industry will be much more diverse.

MD: I think so. I would love to say absolutely yes, but I will say I’m cautiously optimistic because I see the desire, I see changes in pockets. But if you walk into most startups in Silicon Valley, you’re still not going to see change.

I think there are enough people now that are really trying and we are seeing some positive motions forward, but in five years will we look drastically different than we do today, I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be a longer road than that. I would love to say yes, in five years it’s going to be 50 percent women, but I think it’s just going to take a lot more work than that. If we get more and more people thinking like that it will change.

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