Digital fluency — the extent to which people use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective — can help level the playing field for women at work, according to a new report by Accenture.
Women who embrace digital technology are better educated and better prepared for finding and gaining employment and advancing their careers, according to "Getting to Equal: How Digital is Closing the Gender Gap at Work.”
"There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a very promising avenue,” according to Julie Sweet, Accenture’s group chief executive for North America. "This is a powerful message for all women and girls."
Digital fluency, according to Accenture, enhances time management, increases productivity and enables work flexibility, useful for both men and women, but of apparent greater value to women.
Digital technology’s influence on women's leadership advancement is expected to grow as more digital natives — including millennial women— fill management positions, according to Accenture. If governments and businesses doubled the pace at which women become digitally fluent, the workplace would see gender equality by 2040 in developed countries and by 2060 in developing countries.
"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,” according to Accenture Chairman and CEO Pierre Nanterme.
Today, men use digital channels more than women, according to Accenture’s survey of nearly 5,000 women and men in 31 countries that gauged the use of digital technologies, from smartphones to wearables. The survey found:
- Seventy-six percent of men use digital channels, while 72 percent of women do.
- Eighty percent of millennial men use digital channels, versus 75 percent of millennial women
- Fifty-two percent of men say they're continuously learning new digital skills, compared to 45 percent of women
A large majority of both women (72 percent) and men (68 percent) agreed that women’s employment opportunities increase as digital fluency increases. In addition, almost half of the working women said they use digital to work from home and to access job opportunities.
"Women represent an untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent available,” Nanterme said.