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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, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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)

  • 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 working in scientific fields affects high school students' perceptions and choice of undergraduate major. While the classroom interventions generally reduce the prevalence of stereotypical views on jobs in science and gender differences in abilities, the effects on educational choices are concentrated among high-achieving girls in Grade 12. They are more likely to enroll in selective and male-dominated STEM programs in college. The most effective role model interventions are those that improved students' perceptions of STEM careers without overemphasizing women's underrepresentation in science.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Breda & Julien Grenet & Marion Monnet & Clémentine van Effenterre, 2020. "Do Female Role Models Reduce the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from French High Schools," Working Papers halshs-01713068, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01713068
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01713068v3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Canaan, Serena & Mouganie, Pierre, 2019. "Female Science Advisors and the STEM Gender Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 12415, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. Michela Carlana, 2019. "Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(3), pages 1163-1224.
    5. Isphording, Ingo E. & Qendrai, Pamela, 2019. "Gender Differences in Student Dropout in STEM," IZA Research Reports 87, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Choice of Study; Stereotypes; STEM; Role Models; Gender Gap;

    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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