Female Labor Force Participation and Mixed Gender Workplaces

Last registered on July 22, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Female Labor Force Participation and Mixed Gender Workplaces
Initial registration date
January 06, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 09, 2024, 11:49 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
July 22, 2024, 12:15 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Female labor force participation remains strikingly low in many parts of the developing world. This is particularly true in countries with conservative gender norms that limit the interaction of women with non-familial men. In this study, we plan to test the impact of workplace gender composition on female labor force participation. Our project is based in Bihar, a low-income state in India, where less than ten percent of women work. We plan to test whether the take-up of otherwise identical jobs is higher in workplaces that are women-only compared to ones that are mixed. In additional treatment arms, we test the extent to which safety concerns drive these preferences.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Rajah, Kailash. 2024. "Female Labor Force Participation and Mixed Gender Workplaces." AEA RCT Registry. July 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12801-3.0
Experimental Details


We randomize whether women are eligible to apply for a job in a mixed-gender or women-only call center. We cross-randomize this with safety measures provided at the workplace.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Women’s interest in applying for jobs in the initial recruitment survey
Women’s training day attendance at the workplace
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Interest in applying for jobs in the initial recruitment survey: Participants are randomly offered a job at one of two call centers - a women-only call center or mixed-gender call center. We collect women’s preferences over both call centers in the survey, before revealing which call center they have been randomized into.

Attendance in training session: After the initial survey, participants who applied for the job will be invited to participate in a training session introducing them to the workplace.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
- Completion of job application form
- Beliefs about workplace safety

Tertiary measures:
- The proportion of men working in the mixed workplace
- The quality of the office facilities (to capture spillovers of the safety treatment)
- Whether they think the office has had a problem with sexual harassment in the past (to test whether the safety treatments signal a history of sexual harassment incidents)
- We also ask participants whether they would (hypothetically) be interested in applying for the mixed job if the proportion of men in the office were 3, 5, or 7 out of 10 employees.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Completion of job application form: At the end of the survey, interested participants will be asked to complete a job application form to confirm their interest in the position.

Beliefs about workplace safety: We ask women to report how safe they think the workplace is for women

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Recruitment: We conduct door-to-door sampling in urban neighborhoods in Patna, India. Survey teams are allocated to streets within a neighborhood. We target streets that are close to the call centers we are establishing and contain a higher proportion of low or middle-income households. We target all households on a given street. At each household we approach, we document whether or not we spoke to anyone in the household, who we spoke to, and any reason they gave for not participating in the survey. We also mention whether the household was referred to us by another participant.

Sample: After approaching a house, we explain we are conducting a survey and ask to speak with a married woman, who is aged between 18-60, and has completed 5th grade. If there are multiple such women, the surveyor will prioritize any whose husband is currently present, and then the one who is closest to 35. We recruit a maximum of one woman in any given household. If an eligible woman’s husband is available and willing to participate, we collect informed consent and begin the survey. We complete the survey irrespective of whether husbands are present. However, we take several measures to increase the likelihood that husbands are present for the survey. For this reason, we begin surveying early in the morning, and survey on weekends, when husbands are more likely to be at home. During these times, if a woman’s husband is not available or unwilling to participate, we may reschedule the survey to another time so we can focus on other households where husbands may be present.

Demographics: After consent, we collect basic demographic details from the wife including work history and education. In this section, we ask the wife whether she is interested in new part-time work opportunities using a 4-point Likert scale. We stratify the randomization of mixed-gender and women-only workplaces based on their level of interest, and exclude participants who say they are not at all interested in work opportunities. If the husband is present, we obtain consent from the husband if we have not already done so. We collect basic demographic information from the husband including age, work history and education. If the husband is not present, we collect this information from the wife.

Description of workplaces: We then inform participants of the two nearby call centers we are opening (the mixed-gender center and women-only center) and that we are looking to hire women for the call centers on a part-time basis. We then explain that the tasks, management, amenities, and probability of getting a job are the same across both centers. We also highlight that this is a one-time, two week offer. We then introduce women (and their husbands, if they are present) to both workplaces by handing them two flyers (one for each workplace) which we then explain to them.

Safety treatments: We then tell them about the safety measures implemented at the workplace. We have three experimental arms. The first, (the “full safety” group) receives the full set of safety information, explaining that the company takes women’s safety seriously and does not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind. We outline five specific safety measures implemented at the workplace – reference checks, female security guards, a strict sexual harassment policy, sexual harassment training, and security cameras at the workplace. The second group, (the “signal” group) gets told that the organization does not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind, however, we do not mention any of the specific measures implemented. Thus, this group receives any signal (positive or negative) that comes from discussing safety protocols in the job description. The treatment also closely matches generic language that many organizations use in their job descriptions. The final, group, (the “control” group) does not get told about any safety measures or precautions.

We then explain that there are limited job openings in both call centers, and that we are randomizing which call center women are eligible to apply to. We hand participants an envelope that includes the workplace that we randomly assigned to the participant. We ask them not to open the envelope but explain that it contains the workplace they have been randomly assigned to. We stress that they will only be able to take up a job in that workplace, and there is no way to change the offer in the envelope. We will then ask them, for each workplace, whether they would prefer to apply for the job or receive a small gift (which includes the option of a monetary payment). We explain that after they have made their choices, we will implement their choice based on whatever flyer is in the envelope. We tell participants that if they say they are interested in the job that is in the envelope, we will contact them and their husband to discuss and schedule the job and training day. We then tell them the salary at the workplace. Finally, we elicit their preferences in both workplaces, randomizing the order in which we collect their preferences.

Next, we ask participants three comprehension questions. The first, confirms that they understand their choices will not affect their office allocation. The second, confirms that that they understand how their choices will be implemented. Finally, we confirm that they understand the mixed workplace has men working in it and the women only does not. If they answer any of these questions incorrectly, we correct them, and ask them again. If they answer incorrectly twice, we explain things to them a third time and proceed to the next question. We then give participants the opportunity to update their decisions if they would like to.

Randomization: We stratify treatment into the mixed-gender or women-only workplace and cross-randomize the three safety treatments. We also randomize which version of the recruitment flyer participants see. We use over 20 unique photos that are split across 4 women-only and 4 mixed-gender versions of the flyers to ensure that treatment effects are not driven by any one photo or flyer. We also randomize the wage offer participants receive to measure willingness to accept jobs and to benchmark treatment effects.

Intensive margin preferences: We then ask them which call center they would prefer to work in and why.

Beliefs: We then elicit participant’s beliefs about:
(i) How safe they think both workplaces are for women (as a first-stage for the safety measures)
(ii) The proportion of men working in the mixed workplace
(iii) The quality of the office facilities (to capture spillovers of the safety treatment)
(iv) Whether they think the office has had a problem with sexual harassment in the past (to test whether the safety treatments signal a history of sexual harassment incidents)

We also ask participants whether they would (hypothetically) be interested in applying for the mixed job if the proportion of men in the office were 3, 5, or 7 out of 10 employees.

Norms and spousal jealousy: We measure spousal jealousy and gender norms regarding impropriety using four survey questions. We ask these questions to the wife, in private. The questions ask (i) directly about spousal jealousy, (ii) personal beliefs about how appropriate it is for married women to interact with other men (iii) second-order beliefs, and (iv) a measure of controlling behavior on the part of the husband. We will create an index using these questions. As secondary analysis, we will analyze heterogeneous treatment effects using the index.

Job application form and contact information: If women are interested in applying for the job in the workplace they were assigned to, we ask them to complete a job application form outlining their personal details, motivations for applying as well as professional or personal references.

Referrals: At the end of the survey, we also ask participants to refer us to any friends, family, or neighbors who would be interested in participating. If a referral takes place, we record who the participant was referred by and also ensure that they do not disclose the content of the survey.

Training day: Interested participants will be invited for training sessions for the job. Before the training day, we contact participants and their husbands to remind them of the session. If the husband was not present, then we explain the two workplaces to them and the call center their wife has been randomly allocated to. We compensate participants for attending the training day and remind them to attend by visiting their house on the day of their scheduled training session.

Attendance: A subset of the trained candidates will be offered jobs at the workplaces. The two-week long contract will provide the participants with data collection and data entry tasks. We will record participants’ attendance. We are not powered to study this as an outcome variable.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
Within the survey, the treatment is randomized at the workplace-individual level (for the mixed-gender vs women-only treatment) and at the individual level (for the safety treatments). The final office allocation (including training day attendance) is randomized at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
A minimum or 1400 individuals across six treatment arms with up to 2400 if recruitment permits.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Up to 4800 observations for the within-survey outcome measures (revealed preference interest in jobs), and up to 2400 for the post-survey outcome measures (training day attendance).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Up to 1800 in the two safety “control” group arms, 300 in the “safety” group, and 300 in the “signal” group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Minimum detectable effect between mixed-gender and women-only groups: Assuming a 5% significance level, and power of 0.8. For the within survey revealed preference outcome measure, assuming a control mean of 0.20, we have a minimum detectable effect of – 0.014 in the “control” safety arms (N=3600), and 0.034 in the “safety” and “signal” safety arms (N=300) with individual fixed effects. For the post-survey training day attendance, with a control mean of 0.10, we have a MDE of – 0.032 in the “control” safety arms including FE for within survey job preferences (N = 1800).

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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