In my years working on this sector I have encountered very few technical women, or women on management positions, most women work on support related roles (project administrators, finance support). Let me give you a brief summary of my experience. When I started university my major was system's engineering, my first year class was composed of 100 students, 10% of which were girls. I was lucky enough to find a job in a government agency, IT manager, however, as it was a small agency I was the entire IT team. When I went to do Graduate school in Spain it was a shock to me that we were 25 students and only 4 girls (I thought that being an international environment it would be different)
Over the years I have worked with mixed teams, the only place where my team was mainly female was in Vietnam. Telecom is a boys club, we have so many PMs here, but only a handful of them are women, the same goes for executive or management roles, women dominate in the finance and human resource areas, but not in the technical ones. It is true, however, than in recent years I have encounter more and more young engineers, though I have been sad to see some of them stop working when they get pregnant. I have not received an award, nor have I ever been part of any program...and my only mentors over the years have been Vince and my Dad, who are my expert advisors when I have to make hairy career decisions. It is true there are more girls in the business, but still not a 50/50 ratio.
The most satisfying aspect of the day to day work is to hear thank you either from the project team, the management team or the customer, it makes us realize that what we do does make a difference. The most challenging is to try to implement change, convince the project team that a new process, tool, control will benefit their day to day work.
I am a systems engineer with a MSc in telecommunications systems and networks. The next step is to get my PMP certification.
Do not underestimate yourself, visualize where you are at now, where you want to be and what you want to achieve and focus on that, never ever lose faith or trust in yourself.