It’s a well-documented fact that women are lagging men in workplace equality. Different reports have pegged the time to gender parity at as much as 100 years. Now new Accenture research is proving that digital fluency—the extent to which both men and women have embraced digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective—is helping to close this gender gap and level the playing field for women in the workplace.
Our Digital Fluency Model examines the impact of digital technologies across women’s entire career lifecycle. We surveyed nearly 5,000 women and men in 31 countries to gauge their familiarity with digital technologies. We found that, while men outscore women in digital fluency across almost all of the 31 countries we studied, that gap is narrowing and digital fluency acts as an accelerant in every stage of a person’s career—a powerful one in education and in the workplace, and an increasingly important one as they advance into the ranks of leadership.
Why is this? Digital fluency is helping today’s workers better manage their time and become more productive. Digital fluency also enables greater work flexibility—an amenity that workers value and companies are now providing. While men and women alike are liberated by the balance that work flexibility affords, women appear to derive greater value from it.
Getting on the right side of the digital fluency gap can change the picture for women—and their countries—in dramatic ways.
"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."
Chairman & CEO
This research comes at a critical time, as companies and governments face a disparity between the skills they need to stay competitive and the talent available to them. Because women are underrepresented in the workplace in most countries, they are a significant source of untapped talent. According to WorkplaceTrends.com and Saba data, women comprise less than 40 percent of the global workforce today.
Part of the solution to the barriers women face in the workplace can be found in digital fluency. The Accenture Technology Vision 2016 reports that organizations must focus on enabling people—consumers, workers and ecosystem partners—to accomplish more with technology. This growing use of technology will help everyone balance their personal and professional lives and access new opportunities in an evolving work environment.
Perhaps most encouraging, many respondents in our study—76 percent of men and 79 percent of women—agree that women have more opportunity today than ever before. Nearly three-quarters of men and women alike said that “the digital world will empower our daughters.” Clearly the changes we are seeing in women’s lives as a result of digital fluency are here to stay and will become more pronounced with future generations.