Kansas City remains the second best city in the U.S. for women in technology for four years in a row, just behind Washington D.C., according to a new study by SmartAsset.
The study looks at several areas, including gender pay gap, income after housing, women’s representation in the workforce and growth in employment. Using Census data it compared 58 cities that have at least 200,000 residents.
Women are often underrepresented in the highest-paying occupations, including STEM, which tend to come with the best pay and strong long-term prospects, according to the study.
But one thing that makes Kansas City stand out is its gender pay gap: 102 percent, which means that in Kansas City, women in technology on average make 2 percent more than men in the same field. It was the only city on the list where women in technology on average made more than men.
That’s where organizations like Kansas City Women in Technology come into play.
“We have a community of women who discuss salary, pay, negotiating and how to get help when they’re transitioning to new jobs,” said Jennifer Wadella, software engineer and president and founder of Kansas City Women in Technology. “We also help review their resumes and assess their value in the market. Acts like that contribute to women’s pay scale.”
Since it began in 2013, Kansas City Women in Technology has launched several programs, including CoderDojoKC for kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade, Tech sHeroes, TechTalks, Coding & Cupcakes for parents and daughters, and Coding & Cocktails. Each month, between 230 to 330 people attend their events.
Interest is booming and a lot of it is by word of mouth, Wadella said. At Coding & Cocktails, each monthly event has sold out with a wait list, and they’re looking for a larger venue.
“A lot of women are raised and conditioned to think they’re not smart enough to be in STEM careers, so we put a lot of focus on positive exposure and making it seem more attainable.”
So what will it take for Kansas City to be the No. 1 city for women in technology?
Now, Wadella said, Kansas City needs to increase its overall four-year tech employment growth, which was at 16 percent in the latest study. Washington D.C. had 33 percent growth.
“Technology companies add value, and adding tech jobs could put us at No. 1,” she said. “It takes a group effort to make sure we’re continuing to grow good tech jobs that offer innovation, but are also good workplaces where people want to stay.”
Here are the cities that took the top spots: