Does Integration Change Gender Attitudes? The Effect of Randomly Assigning Women to Traditionally Male Teams
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 adopt more egalitarian attitudes. There is a 14 percentage point increase in the 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. Contrary to the predictions of many policymakers, we find no evidence that integrating women into squads hurt male recruits' satisfaction with boot camp or their plans to continue in the military. 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.
Many people and organizations provided information and support for this project. They include the Russell Sage Foundation, which provided a research grant. Robert Hauser and Rob Warren provided data files from the October CPS for the years 1968-2005 that they had cleaned and organized. These supplemented October CPS files that we purchased from Unicon. Kurt Bauman of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Sarah Grady and Stephen Broughman of the U.S. Department of Education answered many questions about properties of particular datasets. Dale McDonald, PBVM, PhD, the Director of Public Policy and Educational Research for the National Catholic Educational Association provided information on enrollment and staffing trends in NCEA schools. Sarah Lubienski explained definitions of school types used in her research. Sabino Kornrich provided data from his research. Joshua Starr answered questions about the Phi Delta Kappan polls of attitudes toward schools. Henry Braun, Kurt Bauman, Greg Duncan, Christopher Jencks, Ann Owens, and Tim Smeeding provided comments on earlier drafts. Anne Lamb, Bonnie Mackintosh, Preeya Mbekeani, Mallory Perry, and Marcus Waldman provided excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.