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This Author: Virginia Valian
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Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian

Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women

by Virginia Valian

Title Details

Running Time
1 Hr. 31 Min.
User Rating
  3.5  Stars Based on 2 ratings
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Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige in every field? To achieve parity we have to know what the problems are as well as what the problems are not. The data show that there has been progress but that a stubborn problem remains: advancement is slower for women than for men in every profession. That stubborn problem is not (or not solely) due to too few women in the pipeline, inequitable childcare arrangements, or women's "choosing" to leave the professions. Rather, the ubiquity of women's slow advancement requires a general explanation through the concepts of gender schemas and the accumulation of advantage. Gender schemas lead both men and women to see men as more competent and able than women, to respond more favorably to male than female leaders, and to attend and defer more to men than to women. Many of the cases in which a woman is disadvantaged are of small scale. The notion of the accumulation of advantage demonstrates how even small-scale disadvantages can mount up over time. The gender schemas analysis allows us to devise appropriate remedies at the institutional level and at more individual levels.

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Why so Slow?
Reviewer girijad83
 February 17, 2006
This podcast is authored and narrated by Virginia Valian, who is introduced by Tom Magnanti, at MIT. Virginia Valian is a professor of psychology and linguistics and a cognitive scientist with research focusing on language acquisition and the likes. She is the author of 'Why so Slow? The Advancement of Women', (MIT Press, 1998), in which she explores the reasons for professional disparities between men and women of equal academic and professional background.

Virginia talks about her book and tries to explain it to the audience using statistical figures. She starts off with the business profession and the disparities between the sexes there, and then goes on to other fields like law and medicine. Interesting statistical and experimental results based on 17 different factors like type of degree and experience bringing salary differences between the sexes of equal standing that she points out to include the facts that 14 factors actually increased men's salary, 2 helped women, and the rest actually subtracted from the women's salary!

It's an interesting talk which everyone should listen to in order to bridge the disparity between the equals.

The sound and video quality are good, though Tom's voice is too low as he hadn't adjusted his microphone volume level.

More Details

  • Published: 2002
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: W015585