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Women who Choose to Challenge- Sharon Douglas

Sharon Douglas – NBN Co

1. What do you choose to challenge?

I believe that a good way to get people thinking about gender bias is to challenge gender biased language that is used every day, rather look to suggest the use of gender inclusive or gender neutral language.

It is extremely common for people to often use the pronoun ‘he’, instead of ‘they’ or ‘he/she’ when generally referring to technologists.  It is also common for people to associate a ‘techie’ professions with a male, commonly using the pronoun ‘he’ within the context.  I’ve heard people say “when the network engineer logs on, he will then do X”, rather than “when the engineer logs on they will do X” – it is a very simple shift we should all embed into our language.

2. What would you tell your 20 year old self?

You can make a positive impact to another person’s career path, as you are never too young to share a different perspective.  Show leadership early to help lift the profile of women in technology and engage with colleagues who actively support gender equality. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know, engage with those that are sharing, and find a way to share information you are absorbing.

3. Who inspires you?

Those who inspire me have been observed to authentically interact with the people around them and build an inclusive environment for all to succeed.  I am fortunate to have worked, and still work with many such inspiring people over my career.

MetaPM’s ‘Women who Choose to Challenge’ blog series was created to highlight the amazing women within our network as part of International Women’s Day 2021. Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories throughout this series. 

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