Female leadership raises aspirations and educational attainment for girls: A policy experiment in India

Lori Beaman*, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, Petia Topalova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exploiting a randomized natural experiment in India, we show that female leadership influences adolescent girls' career aspirations and educational attainment. A 1993 law reserved leadership positions for women in randomly selected village councils. Using 8453 surveys of adolescents aged 11 to 15 and their parents in 495 villages, we found that, relative to villages in which such positions were never reserved, the gender gap in aspirations closed by 20% in parents and 32% in adolescents in villages assigned a female leader for two election cycles. The gender gap in adolescent educational attainment was erased, and girls spent less time on household chores. We found no evidence of changes in young women's labor market opportunities, which suggests that the impact of women leaders primarily reflects a role model effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-586
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume335
Issue number6068
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 3 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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