The FINANCIAL — Digitally savvy women are helping to close the gender gap in the workplace. And digital fluency, the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, plays a key role in helping women achieve gender equality and level the playing field.
A new research report from Accenture, Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work, provides empirical proof that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work. The report provides ample evidence that digital fluency acts as an accelerant at every stage of a woman’s career — a powerful one in both education and employment, and an increasingly important factor for advancing into the ranks of leadership.
If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, versus 50 years at the current pace. Gender equality in the workplace could be achieved in 45 years in developing nations, versus 85 years at the current pace.
“Women represent an untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent available,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer. “There is a clear opportunity for governments and businesses to collaborate on efforts that will empower more women with digital skills – and accelerate gender equality in the workforce.”
Although digital fluency clearly helps women train for and gain employment, the relationship between digital fluency and women’s advancement is not as significant. This is expected to change as more millennial women and digital natives move into management; the research found that in the United States, six in 10 millennial women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions.
While the research determined that digital fluency is having a positive impact on pay for both men and women, the gap in pay between genders is still not closing. Men are, by far, the dominant earners by household across all three generations – Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers.
“There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a very promising avenue,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s group chief executive for North America. “This is a powerful message for all women and girls. Continuously developing and growing your ability to use digital technologies, both at home and in the workplace, has a clear and positive effect at every stage of your career. And it provides a distinct advantage, as businesses and governments seek to fill the jobs that support today’s growing economy.”