Philadelphia was ranked the third best city for women in technology in a 2019 SmartAsset study, an improvement from previous years.
This is the fifth year that SmartAsset is conducting the ranking, which aims to “show how big the gender gap truly is” in mathematical and computing professions. This year, Philadelphia received its highest ranking since the study began: The city was ranked No. 9 in 2015, No. 15 in 2016, No. 10 in 2017, and No. 4 in 2018.
Mathematical and computer fields offer well-paying jobs and consistently show signs of growth and opportunities for advancement. However, these fields are currently male-dominated: In 2017, only 26 percent of the computing workforce were women, and less than 10 percent were women of color. Additionally, women who do have technology careers earn only 84 percent as much as their male counterparts on average.
The SmartAsset ranking was based on four aspects: The gender pay gap in technology fields, average income after housing for women, women as a percentage of the city's technology workforce, and the overall percent growth in technology jobs from 2014 to 2017. Data was taken from the Census Bureau’s 2014 and 2017 5-year American Community Surveys.
Philadelphia was ranked the third best city for women in technology, following Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Among the top three cities, Philadelphia had the smallest pay gap for women in technology, with women earning 97 percent of what men do. This rate was surpassed only by Houston, Indianapolis, and Long Beach, Calif. Women make up 30 percent of the technology workforce in Philadelphia, a larger percentage than "the vast majority of cities."
Still, Philadelphia ranked only No. 24 for the income of women in technology after housing.
“If the City of Brotherly Love wants to climb into the top two spots, income after housing will need to rise here," the report read.
Various organizations at Penn are working to increase female representation in technology industries. Penn Women in Computer Science has run programs such as FemmeHacks, an annual all-women's hackathon, and "The % Project," a social media campaign to highlight the computer science gender gap. However, the percentage of female professors in the School of Engineering declined from 18.6 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2018.