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Best U.S. cities for working women

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Nearly 50 years ago, women didn't even make up a third of the U.S. workforce. Today, they make up nearly half of it.

In spite of the numbers, the workplace isn't always an environment of equality. Legislation has helped close the pay gap between women and men in the same roles. But a study released this week suggests that the equality of pay scales might depend on where U.S. women live.

Financial services information site NerdWallet studied 522 cities--broken down into three categories based on size--to find the best places for women in the workforce. The company looked at the median salary for female, full-time, year-round workers in each city and included the median gross rent as a proxy to gauge cost of living.

NerdWallet also calculated women's pay as a percentage of men's pay and included recent population growth to better assess long-term growth.

The No. 1 large city for women in the workforce is Aurora, Colo., followed by Austin, Texas, Washington D.C., Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Fresno, Calif, according to NerdWallet.

Aurora nudged out the other large cities because of a trifecta of a recent population growth, a low cost of living and a high level of income equality between men and women. It's also loaded with major industries like bioscience, renewable energy, aerospace and defense.

Under the medium-sized city category, the leader is Kent, Wash., followed by Lehigh Acres, Fla., Richmond, Calif., Durham, North Carolina and Syracuse, New York.

The best small city for working women is Pharr, Texas largely because female employees there earn 112 percent of men's average income. Sandy Springs, Ga. took the No. 2 spot, followed by Hesperia, Calif., Edinburg, Texas and Whittier, Calif.

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Thumbnail photo: Flickr user Ed Schipul

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— By on June 10, 2014, 8:28 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure