While I believe there is space for women in the IT sector and that just about everyone should do one turn of some sort in a technology area to really look at what's underpinning most industries, there are some interesting arguments around pay, gender and what even defines true technology.
A posting by Philip Greenspun (whose blog is up-to-date but this posting is one of his older ones) looks at the financial implications of seeking jobs in mathematics or scientific fields - more on the academic and research (R&D) side but still interesting. He examines a "fourth possible explanation for the dearth of women in science: They found better jobs." Greenspun then goes on to examine how a career in R&D math/science tracks against other choices.
"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it." -- Albert Einstein
Toss into the mix the current saying that one should follow one's passion and the money will come. What if the field doesn't have the money? Pure arts, pure mathematics... As a mentor, do you counsel folks to follow their heart or their wallets? Are we forced to choose between the two?
Daniel Pink and Richard Florida both write about how money cannot be the prime motivating factor for any knowledge worker. While we need to feed and shelter ourselves (and our families), not all the reward can come from the paycheque itself.
So - are careers primarily a matter of being very practical or a path with chosen meaning?
I think steps/jobs along the way of a chosen path should be done with your head - but the overall career/direction should come from your desires and dreams. (Which means that a side journey or deliberate path through technology can still fit a plan)