Women are underrepresented in STEM, but they have fair representations in biological sciences. Yiling Zhao of Peking University School of Economics and her co-author propose that women entered biological sciences because they were exposed to these subjects in large numbers through collegiate home economics in the early twentieth century. Home economics was developed in the context of the prevailing germ theory and was designed as a feminine parallel to agriculture studies at land-grant universities. The unique historical circumstances and institutional setup tied home economic curricula closely to biological sciences. Using college-level data from the Commissioners of Education reports, they establish a causal relationship between home economics and women’s enrollment in science majors in the cross-section. They further compiled a panel of student enrollment by majors from 1910-1940 with data collected from various college yearbooks.
In this Quantitative History Webinar, Yiling Zhao will explain the DID framework, through which they show that the presence of home economics led to a higher proportion of women choosing a major in science.
Yiling's co-author: Mike Andrews (University of Maryland Baltimore County and National Bureau of Economic Research)
Live on Zoom on December 16, 2021
10:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
11:00 Tokyo | 13:00 Sydney
Previous Day 18:00 Los Angeles | 21:00 New York
Calculate your local time
Photo credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons
About the Quantitative History Webinar Series
The Quantitative History Webinar Series, convened by Professor Zhiwu Chen and Dr. Chicheng Ma of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), aims to provide researchers, teachers, and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and the Asia Global Institute (AGI).
Professor Zhiwu Chen
Dr. Chicheng Ma
To return to the Series page, click here.