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New Accenture research shows that across developed and developing markets, digital fluency — or having the capabilities/competency needed to carry out internet-related functions — is the single most critical factor in closing the pay gap, because it increases the chances of more women getting paid work.

Digital fluency's potential impact is life-changing. Nearly 100 million women would be added to the paid workforce, with almost two trillion dollars of additional income, while cutting decades off the pay gap—all by 2030.

There's a long way to go:

  • Early adopters of new technology are overwhelmingly male at the undergrad level — 63% versus 45% female
  • When it comes to continuously learning important new digital skills, Accenture research shows that male undergraduates again outperform female undergrads, 53% to 44%
  • When it comes to undertaking specialist coding or computer courses, males are more likely to do so: 83% versus 68% for females

Why it matters: Accenture research shows that 84% of female undergrads believe the pay gap either doesn't exist or will close within 20 years — a sharp contrast to the reality of a gap that will exist for longer than a century without intervention. The message to young women, educators, employers and governments should be clear that digital fluency is vital, internet access is fundamental, and helping women make smart choices to obtain paid work is essential in closing the gender pay gap.

George Marcotte is the Managing Director and Go-to-Market Lead for Accenture Digital UK and Ireland.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
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COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

4 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.