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How Much, If Any, Has The Gender Pay Gap Closed In Dallas?

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Apparently, the gender pay gap has statistically been erased in Dallas. According to the financial website NerdWallet, women within Dallas city limits out earn men – but only slightly.

But local experts caution that headlines on this complicated issue can be misleading. Keep in mind, researchers looked at 'averages' and only in the city of Dallas. By definition averages have nothing to do with equity.

So what does that mean? To be blunt Dallas is a wealthy city. In fact, last year it was named the top U.S. city for millionaire growth. So while there is a lot of money changing hands around Big D that does not mean wealth is equally distributed.

"It's a wonderful wish that we would have eradicated it," says Rosalyn Dawson Thompson with a knowing laugh. Thompson is the President and CEO of the Dallas Woman's Foundation. She says their researchers have crunched the same census data -- and looking at the entire North Texas area, she says that income inequity based on gender still exists.

"Eight-five cents on the dollar is what women earn," says Thompson, adding, "but, also category by category, if you look at industry sectors, women lag behind men in the Dallas market, which is the metropolitan area of Dallas."

According to Thompson, education will help. But, the real solution, she says, lies in helping women become empowered. It's a lesson Brown Publishing Group CEO Milli Brown could have written herself.

"I did make it known that I thought I should make more money," Brown said recalling her early start in the business world. The North Texas executive explained that her career started with a receptionist position, and she worked her way up to secretary.

When her male bosses refused to acknowledge her worth Brown said, "I ultimately left to become self-employed and never looked back."

Brown freely admits that men in the workforce often didn't take her seriously. But, she also insists that she became an expert in turning those obstacles into advantages.

Local experts are encouraged by stories like Brown's -- and want to see more of them. Thompson said, "Women are as challenged in this community as they are anywhere in the world. It is not just those women that live in third world countries or emerging countries, it is in our nation that women are [also] challenged. Poverty in Dallas wears a woman's face just as it does everywhere else."

There is one bright spot among the local data. The wage gap data is actually smaller in North Texas than in the rest of the Lone Star State. Statewide women only earn 79-cents to a man's $1.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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