Liberal-Arts Colleges and Female Scientists

To the Editor:

As a historian of science and medicine who studies issues of gender and science, I'm not surprised by "Women Underrepresented in Sciences at Top Research Universities, Study Finds" (January 23). Top universities define themselves as "top" by doing so-called big science that is inherently gendered male.

But perhaps the assumption that this is a crisis exaggerates the role that these institutions play in fostering women's careers in science. I am an