Tech Chicks Rule
Dallas has earned its stripes as a technology hub — thanks to its friendliness to both startups and global powerhouses — but new research shows we can add another feather to our tech cap: Big D ranks among the top five cities for women in tech.
To explore the state of women in tech across the United States, RJMetrics looked at data from Meetup’s publicly accessible API and the U.S. Census Bureau for the 50 largest cities — first by downloading information about every meetup in the technology category, then using census data to arrive at gender. In doing this, the business intelligence firm learned that women comprise about 29 percent of the tech community nationwide.
“What I love about this is that it shows women engaged in tech,” says Gabriella Draney, co-founder of the Forbes-ranked accelerator Tech Wildcatters, which is based in Dallas. “They are actively participating in the community, which is a great indicator of growth, as they encourage and empower not only other women to get into technology, but also growth in the community in general. Really excited to see Dallas in the top five.”
Of those 50 cities, 17 boast higher-than-average numbers of women in tech. Dallas’ 39.97 percent was enough for a No. 5 ranking. At 64.81 percent, Las Vegas ran away with top honors; No. 2 Oakland trailed by almost 20 percentage points, at 46.8 percent. Nashville and Miami earned the Nos. 3 and 4 spot, respectively. Other Texas cities in the top 17 were Houston (No. 8) and Austin (No. 15).
RJMetrics surmised that Vegas’ numbers could be influenced by the city’s female leadership and notoriety for gender paycheck equality. In looking at the 50 biggest tech cities, having a female mayor also positively correlated with more women in tech.
Another interesting stat: 22 percent of all Meetup groups are led by women, although these groups do not necessarily have a higher ratio of female members. The truth is, the disparity between the number of men and women in the technology sector isn’t just a gender issue; it affects the industry as a whole.
“Women in tech is often thought of as a softer, social good type of issue, and that’s the wrong way to look at it. This is an economic issue,” says Anita Garimella Andrews, VP of client analytics services at RJMetrics and founding trustee of TechGirlz, a nonprofit dedicated to helping adolescent girls realize that a job in technology does not equate to a “boring computer job.”
“There is a mismatch between the number of STEM jobs projected in the U.S. and the population of U.S.-based talent to fill those positions. Getting women in tech is a ‘must have’ for the future growth of these industries.”