Does Integration Change Gender Attitudes? The Effect of Randomly Assigning Women to Traditionally Male Teams

61 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2018 Last revised: 10 Sep 2021

See all articles by Gordon B. Dahl

Gordon B. Dahl

UC San Diego - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andreas Kotsadam

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Norwegian Social Research

Dan-Olof Rooth

University of Kalmar; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We examine whether exposure of men to women in a traditionally male-dominated environment can change attitudes about mixed-gender productivity, gender roles and gender identity. Our context is the military in Norway, where we randomly assigned female recruits to some squads but not others during boot camp. We find that living and working with women for 8 weeks causes men to have more egalitarian attitudes. There is a 14 percentage point higher fraction of men who think mixed-gender teams perform as well or better than same-gender teams, an 8 percentage point increase in men who think household work should be shared equally and a 14 percentage point increase in men who do not completely disavow feminine traits. Moreover, men exposed to mixed-gender teams are more likely to choose military occupations immediately after boot camp which have a higher fraction of females in them. But these effects do not persist once treatment stops. Treated men’s attitudes converge to those of the controls in a 6-month follow up survey and there is no long-term effect on choosing fields of study, occupations or workplaces with a higher fraction of women in them after military service ends. Contrary to the predictions of many policymakers, we do not find that integrating women into squads hurt male recruits’ performance or satisfaction with service, either during boot camp or their subsequent military assignment. These findings provide evidence that even in a highly gender-skewed environment, gender stereotypes are malleable and can be altered by integrating members of the opposite sex. But they also suggest that without continuing intensive exposure, effects are unlikely to persist.

Suggested Citation

Dahl, Gordon B. and Kotsadam, Andreas and Rooth, Dan-Olof, Does Integration Change Gender Attitudes? The Effect of Randomly Assigning Women to Traditionally Male Teams (February 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24351, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3131061

Gordon B. Dahl (Contact Author)

UC San Diego - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Andreas Kotsadam

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

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Norway

Norwegian Social Research ( email )

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Oslo
Norway

Dan-Olof Rooth

University of Kalmar ( email )

Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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