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Hunter College scholar to give Provost's Lecture on Gender Equity

Sharita Forrest, News Editor

Released 10/10/2007

 Virginia Valian, a distinguished professor in the department of psychology at Hunter College, will be the speaker for the second Provost’s Annual Lecture on Gender Equity.

A co-director of the Gender Equity Project, Valian conducts research in first- and second-language acquisition, gender differences in math performance and gender equity. She is the author of numerous papers and book chapters on the topics of gender and language, in addition to the book “Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women” (MIT Press, 1999).

Women remain conspicuously underrepresented at the most prominent levels of science, medicine, business, law and academia and groups such as the steering committees of professional organizations, the editorial boards of leading journals and the National Academy of Sciences. According to Valian’s research, women’s slow advancement in the professions is based on many small social-cognitive processes that put them at a disadvantage and give an advantage to men, enabling men to excel professionally more quickly than women.

“Professor Valian’s scholarship has significantly advanced understanding of subtle gender bias in higher education, in activities such as search processes and promotion decisions, and has helped develop strategies to overcome such bias,” said Linda Katehi, the provost of the Urbana campus. “I am delighted to host her visit to Illinois as one element of broad campus initiatives under way in the areas of gender equity and diversity.”

Valian will speak at noon Monday (Oct. 15) in the auditorium at Beckman Institute, 405 N. Mathews Avenue, Urbana. The talk will be followed by a reception.

The talk is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.