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A Tale of Three Margarets - Women in Technology

Let’s create new role models and make sure that whenever the question “Who are the leading women in tech?” is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues... To take part All you need to do is... pick your tech heroine and then publish your blog post any time on Tuesday 24th March 2009. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about - everyone is invited.

This is a profile of a woman in technology for Ada Lovelace Day.

I considered posting about Fran Allen who in 2007 became the first woman to win a Turing award for "contributions that fundamentally improved the performance of computer programs in solving problems, and accelerated the use of high performance computing" or Mary Lou Jepson - founder of Pixel Qi named "one of the hundred most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in May 2008". But in the spirit of uncovering unsung heroines of technology, I thought I'd focus on some less well known women.  For some other notable women check out this list (and ongoing commentary)

Three Margarets - IT Teachers.

Margaret Fallshaw was the IT Teacher at my high school, Princes Hill Secondary College in the 1980s. She and I did not always get along. I had an Apple IIe at home, and she oversaw the single lab of computers we had at the school at the time. I'm not even sure what kind of computers they were. We also still had a typing room, with manual typewriters and hardcover flip-books with touch typing exercises in it. I wasn't excited about the computing itself (for some reason turtle didn't really engage me) but she was a leading educator for technology in schools at the time. Computing wasn't reserved for boys. Later, she was also involved in Liddy Nevile's Sunrise School project.

Margaret Lawson is an IT Teacher and has been an active contributor to her peer community over many years. She was instrumental in setting up the first website for an IT Teachers professional association.  Recently, I had an 'ahaa!' moment when I discovered that Alice Boxhall - a software engineer at Google Australia had been taught by Margaret Lawson. Alice identified Margaret as a positive role model who contributed to her education and career success as a Professional Geek.

Maggie Iaquinto is an IT Teacher and was the inspiration for a character in an opera called 'Cosmonaut'. It told the story of Soviet citizen Sergei Krikalev, who was orbiting the earth in MIR when his country fell apart. Maggie is not only a teacher, but a lifelong learner, constantly curious and diving deep to discover the real world of information technology. She's also a ham radio operator. Maggie helped steer IT education in Victoria with her work on the examination panels for year 12 IT curriculum.