We interviewed Natasha Warner, Head of Privacy and Information Management at Direct Line Group on her thoughts and experiences on women in tech.
I head a team of privacy and information management professionals advising on all things data protection, including GDPR and PECR, to ensure DLG’s doing the right thing by customers’ and employees’ personal data. Our team is an integral part of the wider Security team, who we work closely with to ensure the data is kept secure, as well as ensuring all personal and corporate information is handled in line with company policy.
I grew into my career after I moved from teaching in 2005 and took a position as records assistant at a large international manufacturer. Whilst there, I was mentored by a senior female leader and I became Privacy Manager, building controls and processes from the ground up.
I moved into consultancy, working on privacy programmes within many sectors, then returning to industry after having my daughter, in part because it gave me more flexibility with family life. Since joining DLG my career has quickly progressed, and I now sit on the Information Security, Risk and Assurance Leadership Team.
No, I studied history and then went on to do a PGCE (teaching qualification). However, when I left teaching and moved to a role in records management, I completed a Masters in Information Rights Law, and have since begun an apprenticeship degree in Data Science to increase my technical knowledge.
Roles leading up to this role have had increasing technology responsibilities, with my consultancy role having given me exposure to technology environments in many diverse businesses.
I think more females are entering technical and IT related roles, especially as young women continue to increasingly embrace STEM subjects through their education. However, as evidenced by the cohort undertaking my current degree, the balance is still significantly weighted towards males.
I do not experience this attitude in my role at work, indeed I think that some of the other skills I bring to the table through my previous life and work experience contribute to my leadership role and is appreciated at senior levels. I see evidence that there’s a desire to attract diverse talent and different personality types and experiences into technology, which will certainly benefit businesses long term.
I think ensuring that women understand the range of roles available in the technology space, and the different ways in which they contribute to business, as well as (as is the case for privacy roles) the benefits for society, will help to entice women to study technology related courses.
There shouldn’t be barriers for women getting into tech, but society’s perceptions on what technology roles are like and the stereotypes associated with people who go into technology roles may be hindering women from entering these professions.
Show casing more technology roles available, evidencing a range of diverse women who are working in these roles and inviting more young people to explore these roles through placements and internships.
Believe in yourself, don’t be put off by jargon, and have the confidence in your ability to learn. Take on challenges and talk to people in the field you’re interested in – there’s a host of people who are more than happy to talk about what they do and give the benefit of their guidance.