Opinion: Equal Gender Pay Can Become A Reality with Digital Fluency

Opinion: Equal Gender Pay Can Become A Reality with Digital Fluency

By Vivian Sanchez – @vivalaviviannn

Women in the work force have been striving for equal gender pay for as long as they have started working. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was a huge stepping stone towards equal gender pay, yet women are still being paid a smaller percentage to execute the same job as their male counterparts. I believe it is time to close this gap and take any measures to ensure equality in the work place once and for all. Perhaps, technical fluency is one of them.

A study done by Accenture Professional Services, has concluded that if women are accurately trained to become digitally fluent, the gender parity could be reached by 2040. That is about 25 years sooner than previous known estimates. The date, however, is still 24 years away and the Equal Pay Act was passed more than half a century ago. Are we really going to let almost 80 years pass before women are recognized for the same efforts, as men?

According to the White House, a census showed that women made only 78 percent of what a man would have made in the same field the prior year. That is a 22 percent difference! “Women make up nearly half of the US labor force and are a growing number of breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. When women are not paid fairly, not only do they suffer, but so do their families,” states the article.

There seems to be an old-time cliche used in many situations as a way to accept that one must choose one thing over the other, not both. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Yet, why is that? Rest assured that if there is cake I will be cutting a slice for myself. Women in the work force face this dilemma when it comes to having a successful career and starting a family. This is the reason given on several occasions as a way to explain why women make much less than men.

Research professor at Harvard and the director of the American Economy program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Claudia Goldin, said, “Equivalent men and women, who go to the same college, graduate from the same law school, get the same job after graduation—we see them ten years later, the guy’s making a gazillion and the woman is in a small practice making maybe 60 percent as much.” Much of this is due to a woman’s decision to cut down on overtime to be able to manage different aspects of her life while the same is not expected from men.

If time and money is invested into technology, there are only benefits that women can reap. Being digitally fluent is not about having and in-depth knowledge in coding or the like. Instead, Julie Sweet, Accenture’s group chief of North America, stated that, “It’s not about […] whether they go online to do taxes, pay bills, or take online courses,” which allows women in more traditional roles to find ways to further their education or seek a wider range of jobs.

Therefore, regardless of a woman’s choice to be a stay-at-home mom or an IT technician, there should be a guarantee that her job will be valued equally. Simply adding access to computers can help pave the way for a future of gender parity. The investment does not need to start with an impossible task. Technology can be crucial towards reaching equal pay in the work place, an issue that has gone on far too long.