“Competition Sticks! Gender Gap in Top Higher Education STEM Programs”

New session of the online Seminar "Gender, Behavior and Decision-Making" by The Women & Science Chair of Université Paris Dauphine - PSL.

The next session of the seminar « Gender, Behavior and Decision-Making » will take place Tuesday the 13th of June from 5 pm to 6 pm online (Teams). The Teams link will be provided in due time.

The seminar will be held online (Teams event)

We will have the pleasure to listen to Cécile Bonneau who will present “Competition Sticks! Gender Gap in Top Higher Education STEM Programs” (with Léa Dousset).

Cécile is a PhD Candidate at the Paris School of Economics, under the supervision of Gabrielle Fack and Julien Grenet. She works on unequal access to higher education in France with a particular focus on gender and social inequalities in access to selective programs.


Despite an increase in women's educational attainment, they remain largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This selection between majors partly explains the gender pay gap, but little is known about the success of female students who decide to pursue STEM studies and careers.

In this paper, we use a novel comprehensive administrative dataset on highly selective STEM programs in France to study the relative performance of male and female students' in a real-life selective and competitive STEM educational environment.

Although female students self-select more than male students to enter these selective undergraduate STEM programs, we show that these female students benefit less from the competitive environment created by the organization of these programs than their male counterparts.

We find that a higher level of competitiveness during the programs is associated with a lower probability of accessing the top STEM schools of 20 to 25 percent. We observe that the under-representation of female students in the top STEM schools is due both to their under-performance in the competitive exams and to small differences in school preferences.


About the Women & Science Chair

The Women and Science Chair at Université Paris Dauphine - PSL, created with the support of the L’Oréal Foundation, the Generali Foundation, La Poste, and the Talan Group, seeks to engage and foster interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing the causes and consequences of the underrepresentation of women in careers in scientific research and academia.

The Women and Science Chair is member of the UNESCO chairs network.

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Informations Pratiques

Date : mardi 13 juin 2023
de 17h00 à 18h00
Lieu : En ligne