The aim of this mentoring program was to encourage and motivate more women to continue their university studies in economics and be inspired to seek careers as economists. The mentors sought to achieve this objective by providing students with: a role model, a broader perspective on career options in economics, and insights into the practical applications of economics. First- and second-year women economics students at an Australian university were eligible to apply for the program.
Intervention start and end date: Monday, 20 August 2018 to Tuesday, 13 August 2019
Ethics approval: ANU Human Research Ethics Committee – Protocol 2018/513
Experimental design including randomisation:
This is a two-arm, stratified design. We stratified on three binary variables:
- Year group (ie, we separated 1st year and 2nd year students),
- Domestic/international student status, and
- Degree of study (enrolled in a Bachelor of Economics, or not).
Within each stratum, we randomised using simple randomization using a random number generator. A fixed proportion (5/8) of students were assigned to treatment - the mentoring program - with the remainder assigned to control. The fixed proportion was determined by the number of available mentors (55) divided by the number of applicants (88).
Intervention(s): The intervention involves participation in a 12-month mentoring program. The aim of the program is to increase the propensity for mentees to complete economic studies and pursue a career in economics. Mentors are professional, mid-level or senior women economists. The program is intended to comprise four meetings over 12 months but is likely to vary. We will measure differences in ‘dosage’ through surveys of mentors and/or mentees.
Control condition: The control group will not be eligible to participate in this mentoring program.
We will use four closely related primary outcome variables to detect the propensity for students to complete economic studies.
- Intention to proceed to next year of econ studies (survey data, 5-point Likert scale)
- Intention to complete an economics major (survey data, 5-point Likert scale)
- Proportion who proceed to next year of econ studies in 2020 (admin data, based on enrolments in compulsory 2nd or 3rd year economics courses)
- Proportion who complete an economics major (admin data)
Expected sample size: 88 women students: 55 in treatment, 33 in control. This is a pilot study and is not powered to detect plausible effect sizes, if the program does in fact have an effect.