Definition: Summarizes information about the trial. To clarify the study’s objective, please include information on: the main outcome(s) , the intervention(s), the level of randomization , eligibility criterion, population of interest, the sample size , and treatment assignment mechanism .
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The project aims to detect and contrast the influence of gender stereotypes in high-quantitative subjects with special attention to economics
These stereotypes, by undermining female confidence, negatively affect girls' enrolment in university and their career opportunities in this field.
In addition to causing unfair gender imbalances, stereotypes are the source of a significant loss of talent. The project is articulated into three components:
1) Experimentation and field research activities conducted with students in their last year of high school.
2) Laboratory activities with the same subjects as in point 1).
3) Extensive statistical and econometric research.
Students will be involved in a series of activities aimed at tackling gender stereotypes as barriers to equal opportunities in education and employment.
Activities include exposure to:
● Board game to raise awareness on gender stereotypes in the choice of professions [estimated time: 90 minutes].
● Short films on gender stereotypes screening and class discussion. [estimated time: 90 minutes]
● Interactive meeting with female professional role models and discussion on elements relevant for school-to-work transition [estimated time: 60 minutes]
Before and after treatment students are screened with questionnaires that will provide useful data to measure the impact of gender stereotypes in choice processes. Within the questionnaires, Implicit Association Tests (IAT) will be used in order to highlight implicit gender attitudes and gender stereotypes acting at an unconscious level.
Among the determinants of study choices, the potential impact of educational preparation in mathematics, employment and career expectations, and socio-economic characteristics of families will be assessed. The survey will also consider provincial data on employment rates, gender gaps in the labour market, size of enterprises, as well as institutional data on curricula offered by faculties, the percentage of women in the teaching staff, and rankings regarding the quality of teaching.
The eligibility criteria were applied to the classes and were based on the following guidelines: the participant must receive the maximum possible benefit from the treatment and the measurement of the potential outcome must be consistent and reasonable and meaningful. For these reasons we decided to include in our experiment only:
- fifth classes: excluding fourth or previous classes allows us both to offer the treatment to more aware pupils and at the same time capturing a more precise outcome regarding their future choice of university (as they are closer in time to making this choice).
- mixed or female-dominated classes: male-dominated classes were excluded as they would have benefited less from our intervention and would have been of less interest in the outcome estimation.
In addition, we excluded from the project those classes that required a reduction in the total number of project hours, as this would also have reduced both outcome and potential benefit.
The treatment assignment mechanism was based on ethical constraints imposed by institutes; the class treated were chosen by the high schools and we were blind on the selection methods, but we had put as many constraints as possible in order to reduce the differences between the groups: every class treated must have a control class that belongs to the same school, has the same course of study and have a similar students’ composition.
Moreover, at the end of intervention and data collection all classes (treated and not) are exposed to the entire educational offer of “Unimore” universities. The latter part is not considered as an element of the intervention, but rather as a way to raise the awareness of the pupils of the university offer in the area. So that they have all the possible elements to be enabled to evaluate and directly apply the benefits of the project in their choices.
The main outcomes we are aiming to measure are the increase in female enrolment intention in universities with a high quantitative content (mathematics, statistics, etc.), the reduction in gender stereotypes on quantitative domain, the increase in female students’ sense of belonging in quantitative domain.
Consistent with the objectives of Horizon Europe and the Smart Specialization Strategy of the Emilia Romagna Region, this study is highly innovative and is based on the cooperation of experts in economics, gender inequality and neuroscience.