Encouraging Female Graduates to Enter the Labor Force: Evidence from a Role Model Intervention in Pakistan

Journal Article
Published on 26 June 2022

The published version of this article can be found on Economic Development and Cultural Change


Pakistan has gender parity in tertiary enrollment yet labor force participation rate of female graduates is one-third that of the male graduates. We conducted a randomised control trial with 2500 final year female undergraduate students in Lahore, Pakistan, a large majority of whom had expressed a desire to work after graduation. We randomly selected half of the sample to watch videos of successful relatable female role models to encourage students to enter the labor force. We collected high frequency, phone survey data up to 18 months after the intervention. The treated students had a significantly higher growth mindset immediately after watching the video. However, this did not translate into significantly higher job search effort or likelihood of working for the first 15 months after the intervention. Eighteen months after the intervention, at the onset of the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, treated students were 4.7 percentage points more likely to be working. This result was driven by respondents who belonged to households with lower income and parental education at baseline, possibly due to greater likelihood of a primary earner in their household becoming unemployed after the lockdown, and being more stressed about the loss of household income.


Hamna Ahmed

Lahore School of Economics

Mahreen Mahmud

University of Oxford

Farah Said

Lahore School of Economics

Zunia Saif Tirmazee

Lahore School of Economics