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Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women

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Overview

Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Virginia
Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women. According to
Valian, men and women 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.

Valian's goal 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.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" Why So Slow? is a breakthrough in the discourse on gender and has great potential to move the women"s movement to a new, more productive phase." Publisher"sWeekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Social psychologist Valian thinks that the Western world has gotten gender all wrong. "As social beings we tend to perceive the genders as alternatives to each other, as occupying opposite and contrasting ends of a continuum," she writes, "even though the sexes are not opposite but are much more alike than they are different." Indeed, despite nearly three decades of feminism, "gender schema"the assumption that masculine and feminine characteristics determine personality and abilitycontinue to influence the expectations and thinking of most Americans. Just about everyone, Valian writes, assumes that men are independent, task-oriented and assertive, while women are tagged as expressive and nurturing. As such, women lag behind in many professions and continue to do the lion's share of housework and child-rearing. Girls remain less attentive in math and science, while even women who attend medical school tend to steer themselves into "gender appropriate" slots such as family practice or pediatrics. Valian bases her findings on research conducted by social scientists in fields as disparate as psychology, education, sociology and economics, and the result is a work that is both scholarly and anecdotally rich. But it also posits concrete suggestions for changing the way we view the sexes, from stepped-up affirmative action programs, to timetables for rectifying gender-based valuations. Accessible and lively, Why So Slow? is a breakthrough in the discourse on gender and has great potential to move the women's movement to a new, more productive phase. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262720311
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 421
  • Sales rank: 980,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
A Note on Method and Scope
1 Gender Schemas at Work 1
2 Gender Begins - and Continues - at Home 23
3 Learning About Gender 47
4 Biology and Behavior 67
5 Biology and Cognition 81
6 Schemas That Explain Behavior 103
7 Evaluating Women and Men 125
8 Effects on the Self 145
9 Interpreting Success and Failure 167
10 Women in the Professions 187
11 Women in Academia 217
12 Professional Performance and Human Values 251
13 Affirmative Action and the Law 277
14 Remedies 303
Notes 333
References 353
Author Index 385
Subject Index 393
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    Not impressed

    I was required to use this book as a textbook for class last semester, and it wasn't very helpful. It seemed like Valian repeated herself often (sure, that is needed to get the point across but too much is too much). Also, while some of the information relating to math scores and such were interesting, there wasn't much application I could use it with. Overall, I wasn't too impressed with the manner in which Valian presented her material.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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