Why So Slow? The Advance of Women in the Academy
A Public Lecture by Dr. Virginia Valian
October 12, 2008 | Smith-Buonanno 106 | 4:00 PM    

Dr. Virginia Valian is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and Co-Director of Hunter's Gender Equity Project. She comes Brown as part of the Visiting Scholars Program.

Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women.  The claim is that women and men alike have implicit hypotheses about gender differences - gender schemas - that create small sex differences in characteristics, behaviors, perceptions, and evaluations of men and women. Those small imbalances accumulate to advantage men and disadvantage women.  The most important consequence of gender schemas for professional life is that men tend to be overrated and women underrated.

Although most women and men in the professions sincerely hold egalitarian beliefs, those beliefs alone cannot guarantee impartial evaluation and treatment of others.  Only by understanding how our perceptions are skewed by gender schemas can we begin to perceive ourselves and others accurately.  The goal in Why So Slow? is to make the invisible factors that retard women's progress visible so that fair treatment of men and women will be possible. The book makes its case with experimental and observational data from laboratory and field studies of children and adults, and with statistical documentation on men and women in the professions.  The many anecdotal examples throughout provide a lively counterpoint.

As part of our Department Chairs Workshop series, Dr. Valian presents a talk entitled, Recruitment and Retention Guidelines that Enhance Diversity in Faculty Searches.