50 & Forward Weekend Speakers


Virginia Valian

Virginia Valian, PhD
Distinguished Professor, Psychology at Hunter College
New York, NY

Virginia Valian is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and is a member of the doctoral faculties of Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is co-founder and co-director of Hunter's Gender Equity Project, which has been funded by NSF and NIH. She is also director of the Language Acquisition Research Center.

Dr. Valian works in two domains: first and second language acquisition and gender equity. In gender equity she studies the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions. She is currently particularly interested what determines who receives awards and prizes and the role of letters of recommendation in search committee decisions, a project she is working on with colleagues at Rice University and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Valian's book Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women has been hailed by reviewers as "compelling", "scholarly and convincing", "accessible and lively", and "a breakthrough in the discourse on gender". Dr Valian's audiences have ranged from natural scientists such as chemists and astronomers to theater actors and directors. Her science-based approach has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nature, Scientific American, The Women's Review of Books, and many other journals and magazines. She has also appeared on NPR, the BBC, and TheNewsHour with Jim Lehrer.