International Women’s Day Spotlight: Tanja Roth
On March 8th women around the world will be honored for International Women’s Day…but instead of a day, we’ve decided to highlight our women in tech all week long. Tune in each day to learn more about the SUSE women behind the magic!
Name: Tanja Roth
Occupation: Technical Documentation Specialist
Q: Tell us a little about you.
A: Driven by an interest in both language and technology, I have been working as a technical writer in mechanical engineering, medical technology, and IT for many years. I joined SUSE in 2005 and contribute to a wide range of product and project documentation, including High Availability and Cloud topics. In my free time, you can find me playing drums and percussion and organizing community drum circles.
Q: Who is your biggest influence?
A: I would say that as a child, I was mainly affected by my family, school, and friends (as most of us, probably). This prepared the ground for all influences that arrived later and helped me evolve into the person I am today.
Q: Who are your ideal female icons?
A: There are many persons who inspire me in one way or another, but I cannot name someone in particular. I believe that we all have to find our own path. But talking to each other provides insights on how other females deal with certain things in their every day (or professional) lives. This often results in new impulses.
Q: How do you define women empowerment?
A: For me, the key is to provide access to education for girls (unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this is still not the norm in many countries). Let them develop their own view and allow them to follow their interests.
Q: Do you think it’s important to have an International Women’s Day?
A: Changes are not bound to a certain day. For me, how we interact with each other every day is more important.
Q: What did you want to be growing up?
A: I did not have any particular career aspirations as an adolescent. I decided rather late what to study and it led me on to another area when I started my working life. If someone had told me in my teens what I do today and which environment I work in, I would not have believed it. But I’m happy with my choices.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
Q: Why do you feel it’s important for young girls to consider roles in STEM?
A: I would not say it is important as a goal per se, because some women are simply not interested in technology. But *if* you are interested, go for it! More role models in that sector will help the younger generation to consider it a choice for them, too.
Q: What would you say are the main challenges facing women in IT presently and how do we overcome them?
A: From my point of view, it is still difficult for many women to reach higher positions, especially if the women have family. Often women have to work harder than men to get the same appreciation and the same payment. Men and women sometimes use different ways and skills to solve tasks. I think it is important to accept this and to not esteem one approach higher than the other. But it takes time to change mindsets.
Q: How do you relax after a stressful day?
A: It depends. Diving into rhythms is one way, going outside or practicing yoga are others.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your role and working at SUSE?
A: To work with people from different backgrounds and cultures!