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On average, Houston offers women tech workers more income equality than all American cities except Long Beach, California, where women earn more than men. But how does the city rank overall?

Houston ranks highest among the nation’s 10 largest cities and No. 6 overall for women in the tech industry, according to a recently released analysis by SmartAsset.

Baltimore was No. 1 on the financial tech company’s 2020 list of the Best Cities for Women in Tech, which ranks cities with populations of 200,000 or more based on the gender pay gap, income after housing costs, tech jobs filled by women and four-year tech employment growth.

Houston had the second smallest gender pay gap in the U.S. behind Long Beach, California, where women tech workers make more than men. The average earnings in 2018 for women working in Houston’s tech industry represented 99% of what men earned — a difference of $451. On average, women in tech make just under $64,500 a year after housing costs here. They hold around 26% of the city’s tech jobs.

Houston was the highest-ranked Texas city, by far, followed by Fort Worth at No. 17, Plano, which tied with New York for the No. 27 spot, San Antonio (37), Irving (39), Austin (49) and Dallas (54).

The Houston area has the nation’s 12th largest tech sector and is home to more than 8,200 tech-related companies. A 4-mile long Innovation Corridor — stretching from the Texas Medical Center north to Downtown — is in the works. Planned at the center of the corridor, in Midtown, is the South Main Innovation District, which will include the Ion — a tech and startup hub focused on solving some of the world’s biggest problems through the collaborative efforts of innovative entrepreneurs, academics and corporations. It will be located in the redeveloped former Sears building in Midtown. 

Christine Galib, senior director of Accelerator Programs at the Ion and director of the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator, says Houston’s position as a top city for women in tech — and the tech industry in general — is strengthened by collective action and the way technology is being used to improve quality of life.

“When I think about what it means to be a woman with a leadership role in Houston, one of the best cities for women in tech, the first thing that comes to mind is actually not the technology itself, but why and how we leverage technology to meet our people’s biggest needs and solve our city’s biggest challenges,” Galib says. “Technology must help people — and all people — develop their fullest potential and live their lives not just differently, but better. As a city, we have made great progress in collaborating to advance our commitment to leverage technology for good. That said, more work is needed, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Galib points to initiatives such as Rice University’s Carbon Hub, which, in partnership with Shell, is integrating industry and academia to advance energy transition using green hydrocarbons. The University of Houston’s Technology Bridge program also uses academic and industrial collaborations to promote innovation and advance technology.

Though it dropped two spots from No. 4 on the 2019 list, women working in Houston’s tech industry saw an increase of almost $4,000 in average income in this year’s rankings over last.

San Jose’s female tech workers make an average of $77,857 a year after housing costs, the most in the nation. Overall, the city was ranked No. 25.

Female tech workers in Detroit (No. 36 overall) are paid the least compared to other cities in the rankings, earning an average of $36,158. But women hold 45.5% of Detroit’s tech jobs, more than any other city. Women only fill 20.1% of tech jobs in Jersey City, New Jersey, the lowest percentage on the list.

Oakland tied for the No. 34 spot but had the highest four-year tech employment growth at 37%. The lowest job growth, which wasn’t growth at all, was the 2% decline in Tulsa (No. 58).

And the largest gender pay gaps were found in Raleigh, North Carolina (No. 55), and Colorado Springs, Colorado (No. 59), where women make 72% of what men earn.

Nationally, the averages for the four metrics SmartAsset considered were:

► Gender pay gap: 83%

► Income after housing costs: $55,745

► Tech jobs filled by women: 26.1%

► Four-year tech employment growth: 17%