Interesting article

Julia Frugoli jfrugoli at
Wed Aug 30 14:17:36 EST 2000

>The Chronicle of higher education ( has a free article
>Female Scientists Turn Their Backs on Jobs at Research  Universities:
>Many say liberal-arts colleges provide a better place for women to
>I have mixed feelings about this;  i understand why many women make this
>but I fear that things will never change and problems will never be
>solved in the
>bigshot places if women simply opt out of them.

After reading the article, many things struck me.  One was that the author
chose to refer to every female scientist as "Ms. So-and-So", instead of "Dr.
So-and-So".  I couldn't imagine printing an article referring to a bunch of
male professors as "Mr. So-and-So", thus right away I felt defensive.

The phenomenon being described is presented as a female phenomenon-women, as
opposed to men, choosing smaller institutions for quality of life issues.  I
know many men who have made the same choice. It just isn't noticeable in the
numbers, since men have always been getting these jobs-the numbers can't
tell whether the jobs were chosen or defaulted to.  So even the premise of
the article makes me nervous.

While I certainly couldn't imagine nursing your baby during faculty meetings
at most research institutions (used by one woman as an example of how
supportive her small department was), I don't think it's fair to use Harvard
and MIT as the prototypical research universities.  There are plenty of
research universities that provide good opportunities for research with
light teaching loads, without demanding several multimillion dollar grants
and 4 papers a year.  I know Harvard has a reputation for eating young
professors alive, male or female.  But that doesn't mean every research
institution demands choosing between a career and a family.  And the older I
get, the more I think that there's a personality component to this too-some
people stress themselves beyond what the career demands, just because that's
they way they are, or because they don't make wise choices.  I don't want to
say it's easy to balance it all, but sometimes I see people making it harder
than it has to be.

Like Susan, I fear that things will never change if women self select out of
research institutions, and I while I think we need to have our eyes wide
open, we don't need to scare people who value balance away.

Julia Frugoli
Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Clemson University
132 Long Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
phone: 864-656-1859
email: jfrugol at

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