Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has never really been top of females' lists of career preferences...it still suffers from negative 'nerdy' stereotypes and as a result, lags behind other industries in balancing the workforce. But in a world that's changing rapidly, where technology is at the front and centre of our lives, I can't understand why more women wouldn't want to be part of ICT.
And for aspiring and ambitious females at the start of their careers, it may seem like a long and arduous journey to get anywhere near the top in ICT, simply because there are so few female role models on the Boards of large ICT companies.
ICT wasn't a conscious career choice for me - I got into it almost by accident, but I am so glad I did!! I started my career as a graduate trainee, with no definite plan to stay. But I quickly realised that ICT is actually a really exciting place to be - it offers a really wide spectrum of 'jobs' and at 39, after trying a lot of those jobs out, I was appointed the youngest female member of the Board of Fujitsu - an ICT company employing over 11,000 people in the UK and Ireland alone. To top all that off I am now shortlisted in the First Women Awards, founded by Real Business and the CBI, in association with Lloyds Banking Group.
I consider myself extremely privileged to be at the forefront of an industry that is literally leading changes in the way we live and work - the end-user and workplace technologies we all use every day to do our jobs and achieve so much more than we ever thought possible. I am constantly tracking consumer trends in technology and looking at ways in which they impact us in our business lives - let's face it, we all love our devices, and switch endlessly from one to the other without thinking - what a privilege to be able to help shape the future!
The reality for ICT in the UK is that we are short of role models. As a nation we are low on females selecting STEM subjects and school, and choosing ICT consciously as a career direction. We do have to work harder than many other sectors to attract, retain and promote women.
What is reassuring, though, is that 6 of the top 20 CIOs in the Americas are women - check out this article from i-cio, Fujitsu's global publication for CIOs. Unfortunately, in the equivalent European CIO ranking there are only two - clearly there is more work to do.
But if I can do it - progress from graduate trainee to Board Executive before my 40th birthday - anyone can! Women can succeed in ICT, and I'd like to think I am living proof that they don't have to be nerds to do so!!
And...you can listen to me talking about why I think ICT is such a great career choice here.
Helen Lamb is shortlisted for the 2014 First Women Awards.
The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 12 June and is hosted by Real Business in association with Lloyds Banking Group.