By

Muhamed Abdelhack covers business and economy for The Paper. He is a communications and journalism graduate of UNM.

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If asked to name some major players in the tech space, names like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg might come into mind. If asked the same question, naming only women, could you name as many? Could you name one? In a field that has been predominantly occupied by men, the tech industry is now in the midst of a gender renaissance—albeit not an entirely fair or fast one. That, however, may be gradually shifting, according to a recent survey published by SmartAsset, a financial tech company. The survey, which pulled much of its data from the Census Bureau’s 2016 and 2019 five-year American Community Survey, reviewed 63 cities from across the country. Of the 63 cities, 15 were identified as top locations for women in tech—with Albuquerque, for the fourth year in a row, placing in the top 10. 

“We are thrilled Albuquerque ranked as one of the 10 best cities for women in tech,” said Deborah Breitfeld, executive director of the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC). “Between the national laboratories, higher-education institutions, the public and private sectors, New Mexico has an abundance of phenomenal females in STEM leadership positions, along with an emerging female workforce, all doing outstanding work.” The NMTC also honors women in tech and will be hosting its 13th annual Women in Technology Awards Celebration recognizing and honoring female leaders in their fields. 

On the surface, the news of Albuquerque’s ranking sounds great, especially for the strides in gender pay equity that the city is trying to make. The rankings, however, have slipped from 2020, when Albuquerque ranked fifth in the country, to 2021, where we now rank ninth. The survey was based on four different criteria, including gender pay gap, income after housing costs, tech jobs filled by women and tech employment growth over a three-year period. 

According to the survey, while tech is considered a more progressive industry on average, women will still only make about 83 percent of what men make. Albuquerque, however, ranks highly in closing the gender pay gap, with women making about 95 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers earnthe fifth smallest pay gap out of 63 cities. “We are also encouraged to see the pay equity growing for STEM females in Albuquerque,” said Breitfeld. The highest-scoring city in the gender pay gap category was Long Beach, Calf., with women in tech earning $1.01 for every dollar that men earn. In contrast, Salt Lake City ranked the lowest, where the gender pay gap between women and men is 68 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech jobs are expected to grow by 11 percent by 2029 with 531,200 jobs being added in cloud computing, data storage and information security. If that growth holds true, and trends in gender equity pay continue to grow in the tech space, then names of female tech industry pioneers like Katherine Johnson, Mary Wilkes, Mary Jackson, Annie Easley and Grace Hopper may be just as prominent in our minds as some of the men in tech are today. 

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