Unlocking young women’s minds? Evidence from a career exploration program

About this Session

Time

Thu. 11.04.'24 12:30

Room

Speaker

In contexts with rigid gender norms and low female labor force participation, young women lack information on many career options, have limited awareness of their strengths and interests, and lack professional role models. While students from affluent families can access career counseling in school or privately, students from socio-economically weaker groups lack this type of guidance. We examine whether and how a 10-hour long career guidance program that encourages primarily female secondary school students in 15 sessions to explore their strengths, interests, and career options can influence their choices regarding the continuation of skill formation and education after finishing school to facilitate their labor market entry in the future. To identify the causal impact of the career guidance program, we use a school-level clustered randomized controlled trial working with all 12th graders in 45 secondary schools without fees, resulting in an approximate sample size of 6000 students. Our data collection and analysis will allow us to assess the program’s causal impact on young women’s career plans for their professional future right after the program implementation and on their actual choices about one year later. We contribute to existing research in three ways. First, we assess the impact of a career exploration program instead of relatively expensive career counselling programs.Career exploration is scalable and has the potential of reaching many more students in the future which is particularly important for resource-constrained contexts. Second, we track students transitioning from secondary education to further skill formation in comparison to studies that have been focusing one one specific choice such as college enrollment or choosing a STEM subject. Third, we address the question of how governments investing in women’s completion of secondary education can also motivate women to continue their skill formation in alignment with their preferred occupational choice to facilitate labor force entry in the future