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Do Female Role Models Reduce the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from French High Schools

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  • Thomas Breda

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Julien Grenet

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Marion Monnet

    (INED - Institut national d'études démographiques)

  • Clémentine van Effenterre

    (University of Toronto - University of Toronto)

Abstract

We show in a large-scale field experiment that a brief exposure to female role models workingin scientific fields affects high school students' perceptions and choice of undergraduate major. While the classroom interventions generally reduce the prevalence of stereotypicalviews on jobs in science and gender differences in abilities, the effects on educationalchoices are concentrated among high-achieving girls in Grade 12. They are more likelyto enroll in selective and male-dominated STEM programs in college. The most effectiverole model interventions are those that improved students' perceptions of STEM careerswithout overemphasizing women's underrepresentation in science.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Breda & Julien Grenet & Marion Monnet & Clémentine van Effenterre, 2021. "Do Female Role Models Reduce the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from French High Schools," PSE Working Papers halshs-01713068, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-01713068
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    Cited by:

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    2. Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Gender differences in performance of top cited scientists by field and country," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 125(3), pages 2421-2447, December.
    3. Laura Pagani & Giovanni Pica, 2021. "A Peer Like Me? Early Exposure to High Achievers in Math and Later Educational Outcomes," Development Working Papers 476, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    4. Breda, Thomas & Napp, Clotilde, 2019. "Girls' Comparative Advantage in Reading Can Largely Account for the Gender Gap in Math-Intensive Fields," IZA Discussion Papers 12503, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Katherina Kuschel & Kerstin Ettl & Cristina Díaz-García & Gry Agnete Alsos, 2020. "Stemming the gender gap in STEM entrepreneurship – insights into women’s entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-15, March.
    6. Michela Carlana, 2019. "Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(3), pages 1163-1224.
    7. Patricia Palffy & Patrick Lehnert & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2021. "Social Norms and Gendered Occupational Choices of Men and Women: Time to Turn the Tide?," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0183, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Oct 2022.
    8. Bertrand,Marianne & Crepon,Bruno Jacques Jean Philippe & Marguerie,Alicia Charlene & Premand,Patrick, 2021. "Do Workfare Programs Live Up to Their Promises ? Experimental Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9611, The World Bank.
    9. Andreas Teichgraeber & John Van Reenen, 2022. "A policy toolkit to increase research and innovation in the European Union," CEP Discussion Papers dp1832, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2021. "Gender and Educational Achievement: Stylized Facts and Causal Evidence," Working Papers 202103, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    11. Kerstin Grosch & Simone Haeckl & Martin G. Kocher, 2022. "Closing the Gender STEM Gap - A Large-Scale Randomized-Controlled Trial in Elementary Schools," CESifo Working Paper Series 9907, CESifo.
    12. Canaan, Serena & Mouganie, Pierre, 2019. "Female Science Advisors and the STEM Gender Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 12415, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Agurto, M. & Bazan, M. & Hari, S. & Sarangi, S., 2021. "Women in Engineering: The Role of Role Models," GLO Discussion Paper Series 975, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    14. Gordon B. Dahl & Dan-Olof Rooth & Anders Stenberg, 2020. "Intergenerational and Sibling Spillovers in High School Majors," NBER Working Papers 27618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2022. "Gender Differences in STEM Persistence after Graduation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(356), pages 862-883, October.
    16. Delfino, Alexia, 2021. "Breaking Gender Barriers: Experimental Evidence on Men in Pink-Collar Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 14083, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Sulema Torres-Ramos & Nicte Selene Fajardo-Robledo & Lourdes Adriana Pérez-Carrillo & Claudia Castillo-Cruz & Patricia del R. Retamoza-Vega & Verónica M. Rodríguez-Betancourtt & Cristina Neri-Cortés, 2021. "Mentors as Female Role Models in STEM Disciplines and Their Benefits," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-19, November.
    18. Emre Özel, 2022. "A Conceptual Framework for Studying Gender Bias in Grant Peer Review," Working Papers halshs-03862027, HAL.
    19. Isphording, Ingo E. & Qendrai, Pamela, 2019. "Gender Differences in Student Dropout in STEM," IZA Research Reports 87, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    STEM; Stereotypes; Choice of Study; Role Models; Gender Gap;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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