Houston named a top city in the U.S. for women working in STEM

Amid Women’s History Month and on the heels of Equal Pay Day, Houston women working in STEM fields appear to be on the right career path, and in the right town, according to one study.

In Commercial Café’s 2021 ranking of the top U.S. cities for women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, Houston ranks at No. 5 on the list of the best southern cities in the United States for women in STEM. The Bayou City also claims the No. 19 spot nationally, CultureMap sister site InnovationMap notes.

Here are some other key findings about Houston on the report, per InnovationMap:

  • About 23,964 women work in STEM in Houston — which is the most out of any other city in the South.

  • Houston gained 4,318 new women STEM employees since 2015, the third-highest number in this regional ranking.

  • STEM jobs in Houston account for 7 percent of all jobs, and a little less than a third of these positions are held by women.

  • The median annual income for women in STEM here is $68,172.

Elsewhere, as the second-best Southern city for women working in STEM and the 12th-best nationwide, Austin received a total score of 13.18 points out of a possible 30 points, just slightly behind the top Southern city of Washington, D.C., which scored 13.57 points. 

Houston, ranking fifth in the region, garnered a total score of 11.68 points, while Dallas-Fort Worth suburb Frisco ranked seventh in the region, with a total score of 10.62 points. Dallas ranked eighth in the region, with a score of 10.48 points, and Plano rounded out the top 10 for the region, with 10.38 points.

The study, which breaks down the analysis based on four sectors of the country — West, Midwest, South, and Northeast — considered three key categories (each worth as many as 10 points) in determining the top cities for women working in STEM: local STEM-sector size, representation of women in STEM occupations, and median earnings.

Though the study takes note of the maddening gender wage gap and the fact that women remain vastly underrepresented in most STEM fields and majors, Austin, in particular, has made strides in the past few years, gaining 4,347 new women STEM employees since 2015 — the biggest bump in the region. Additionally, the median annual income for women working in STEM jobs in Austin is $72,854, which represents 31.1 percent growth since 2015.

Apart from California, with 22 cities named in the study as best for women in STEM, Texas comes in second overall, with 14 cities included.