Kansas City topped many major cities in a new ranking of the best metros for working women, but its strong performance was dragged down by a wide gender pay gap and limited resources for working mothers.
The metro placed 10th on a list of the best cities for working women compiled by MagnifyMoney, a personal finance news outlet.
Washington, D.C., took the top spot on the list that analyzed the 50 largest metros in the U.S. on women's employment, access to health care, rate of business ownership, involvement in management, wages, ability to get child care, representation in politics and workplace protections.
A significant number of women in the Missouri General Assembly boosted Kansas City's score. Women hold about a third of the body's seats.
Women are also likely to hold leadership roles at Kansas City companies. Women hold about 41 percent of management roles in the metro and own about one-third of the metro's businesses.
Nationally, women own just 31.2 percent of metro-area businesses. MagnifyMoney executive editor Mandi Woodruff said she was surprised by that rate.
“For me, less than a third of businesses owned by women is something that we should all be looking at and wondering why because owning a business is a nice path to wealth and generational wealth," Woodruff said.
Despite the number of women in leadership, Kansas City has a wider-than-average gender wage gap of 21.7 percent. It ranks 43rd out of the 50 largest metros.
Kansas City also performed poorly on MagnifyMoney's analysis of child care availability and workplace protections. According to the study, women don't have any specific workplace protections, like required paid family leave and laws protecting pregnant women.
Daycare in Kansas City costs about 21.6 percent of women's median earnings, a rate similar to other major metros. Woodruff said the expense of child care can be a huge burden for women and families and prevent them from paying off debt or setting money aside.
“It does make you worry about women in retirement, and your early working years are crucial for saving for retirement," Woodruff said.
MagnifyMoney did the study to give a more nuanced look at women's status in the workplace beyond the wage gap, Woodruff said.