PodCast EconomistAs: Bruna Pugialli: gender, higher education, and labor market

In this new episode of Brazilian Women in Economics’s Podcast, Paula Pereda and Maria Dolores Diaz interview Bruna Pugialli da Silva Borges. She is a bachelor’s, master and Ph.D. in economics from FEA-USP. Besides having helped to found and organize the Brazilian Women in Economics group at USP, Bruna is now a senior educational research analyst at the Instituto Unibanco.

Bruna says that she has begun the undergraduate course with little idea of a career in economics but with the intention of combining studies of the humanities with mathematics. She told us that it was in the middle of the undergraduate course that she became aware of the depth of the area. She recalls that during her internship on impact evaluation of social projects, where she could combine the theory and practice of econometrics, she decided to pursue her master’s degree. Although she had already developed an interest in gender economics during her master’s degree, it was in her Ph.D. that she started focusing more consciously on the field, which had begun to consolidate in Brazil.

Bruna explains some of the results found in her research. Analyzing data about the undergraduate course in economics at FEA-USP, Bruna found evidence that having more women colleagues or professors affects female students’ results in the labor market. For example, having more female colleagues increases participation in the labor market after graduatio. Havingg more women professors during the undergraduate course increases the probability of female students occupying some higher positions in the future. In the other two studies, Bruna finds gender differences in college entrance exam results and differences in the gender composition of high school classes in students’ career choice.

Bruna also comments on some topics of interest for further investigations. Among those: how networks are formed during college, the presence of role models during high school, and the formation of socio-emotional skills within socio-cultural contexts.

Bruna concludes with a special message to our listeners. She says that it is necessary to value representativeness and try to put yourself in the other’s shoes.