These Are the Best Cities for Women in the Tech Industry
When it comes to the best-earning fields for women, the tech industry doesn't rank very high on the list (in Forbes' 2015 list, for example, "computer and information systems manager" comes in at no. 18, while "upholsterer" ranks 7th). One 2015 study by the American Association of University Women showed the percentage of computing jobs held by women has dropped since 1990, which would suggest that things are actually getting worse for women in the industry.
But this isn't true for all parts of the country. According to SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, women working in the tech industries of Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Detroit are getting paid just as much or more than their male colleagues.
For their new study, SmartAsset analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data on men and women working in "computer and mathematical occupations." Both Kansas City and Indianapolis showed nearly perfect income equality in the tech industry, with women earning 100.8 percent of what men in the field make. In Detroit, women out-earn men, making 122.8 percent of the average male salary. The next five cities on the list—Washington D.C., Milwaukee, Denver, Albuquerque, and New Orleans—all had women making at least 95 cents for every dollar earned by male employees.
However, none of the West Coast cities normally associated with the burgeoning tech industry are included on this list. San Francisco is actually one of the worst offenders when it comes to the gender pay gap, with women earning just 83.4 percent of what men do. That's 4 percent less than the national average.
Female representation in Silicon Valley's biggest tech industries looks just as dismal: Women hold only 18 percent of the technical positions at Google, 16 percent at Facebook, and 13 percent at Twitter. In D.C.'s and Detroit's tech industries, meanwhile, that number is up to 40 percent or more—but in no U.S. city do women comprise 50 percent or more of the jobs in tech.
According to Girls Who Code, a company dedicated to teaching young girls the skills they need to pursue jobs in tech and computer science, this discrepancy begins in school—they report 74 percent of middle school girls as having an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and yet only 0.4 percent of high school girls express interest in pursuing computer science as a major. Girls Who Code strives to reach gender parity in the field of computer science by 2010—if SmartAsset's data is any indication, they've got their work cut out for them.