Can the IT board of the future have a 50/50 gender split?

Jamuna Ravi, vice president in banking and capital markets at Infosys Technologies tells WITsend about her career path in IT.
When I started my career in IT 25 years ago, I couldn’t imagine that the industry would become the thriving multi-billion dollar industry it has. The other big change I have seen is the number of women in IT now compared to when I started working with our induction batch having a ratio of 2% women.
I studied computer science at a leading engineering college in India and was one of only 100 women on a campus with more than 2,000 students. Just as the industry has grown, so too has the amount of women aspiring to be engineers and computer scientists – the same engineering college now attracts a 50/50 split in terms of male/females.
International Women’s Day is being celebrated each year to encourage and celebrate the women who aspire for and achieve professional equality in different careers. This year, it will have a special focus on equal access to education, training and science and technology. These are all crucial elements to a successful career in IT and enable us to see more women in high ranking roles every year.
Naturally, there may come a time when a woman may want to start a family which many see as a professional challenge. But this doesn’t mean that they need to give up their careers as they balance family and work life.
Instead, organisations must provide female employees with the opportunity to develop their skills in other areas of the business in lateral roles which can suit their changing needs. 
Certainly, this is something which I found helped my career and if the IT industry is to encourage more women into the workplace, it must continue to do so.
In addition, providing an opportunity for support on a day to day basis through internal forums, company mentoring schemes or initiatives as women join the workforce can also be a way in which to encourage progression. 
I think it is important that the organisation you work for is able to champion your cause (whether male or female) and for that reason, ensuring there is a strong diversity scheme in place is important. This will ensure that diversity is maintained till the highest level in the organisation, instead of shrinking as one moves higher in the organisation
If an organisation is able to sustain diversity successfully through different support structures, there is no reason why we won’t be able to see the IT board of the future with that same 50/50 split as my alumni university is currently seeing.

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