Carol Gilligan

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Carol Gilligan
Carol and James Gilligan P1010970.jpg
Carol Gilligan and James Gilligan, 2011
Born (1936-11-28) November 28, 1936 (age 80)
Occupation Professor
Nationality United States
Subject Psychology, Ethics, Feminism
Notable works In a Different Voice

Carol Gilligan (/ˈɡɪlɪɡən/; born November 28, 1936) is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist best known for her work on ethical community and ethical relationships, and certain subject-object problems in ethics.

She is a professor at New York University and a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge. She is teaching as a visiting professor at New York University, Abu Dhabi. She is best known for her 1982 work, In a Different Voice. She is the founder of ethics of care.

Background and career[edit]

Carol Gilligan was raised in a Jewish family in New York City.[1] She was the only child of a lawyer, William Friedman, and nursery school teacher, Mabel Caminez. She attended Walden School, a progressive private school on Manhattan's Upper West Side, played piano and pursued a career in modern dance during her graduate studies. Gilligan received her B.A. summa cum laude in English literature from Swarthmore College, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Radcliffe College, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.[2]

She began her teaching career at Harvard in 1967, receiving tenure with the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1988. Gilligan taught for two years at the University of Cambridge (from 1992–1994) as the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions. In 1997, she became Patricia Albjerg Graham Chair in Gender Studies at Harvard.[2]

Gilligan left Harvard in 2002 to join New York University as a full professor with the School of Education and the School of Law.[3] She is also visiting professor at the University of Cambridge in the Centre for Gender Studies.[4]

Best known for her work, In a Different Voice (1982), Gilligan studied women’s psychology and girls’ development and co-authored or edited a number of texts with her students.[5] She contributed the piece "Sisterhood Is Pleasurable: A Quiet Revolution in Psychology" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.[6] She published her first novel, Kyra, in 2008.[7][8]

She is married to James Gilligan, M.D., who directed the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School.[9]


Gilligan is known for her work with Lawrence Kohlberg on his stages of moral development as well as her criticism of his approach to the stages. Despite being Kohlberg's research assistant, Gilligan argued that Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development were male-oriented, which limited their ability to be generalized to females. Gilligan thus proposed her theory of stages of female moral development based on her idea of moral voices. According to Gilligan, there are two kinds of moral voices: that of the masculine and the feminine. The masculine voice is "logical and individualistic",[10] meaning that the emphasis in moral decisions is protecting the rights of people and making sure justice is upheld. The feminine voice places more emphasis on protecting interpersonal relationships and taking care of other people. This voice focuses on the "care perspective,"[11] which means focusing on the needs of the individual in order to make an ethical decision. For Gilligan, Kohlberg's stages of moral development were emphasizing the masculine voice, making it difficult to accurately gauge a woman's moral development because of this incongruity in voices. Gilligan argues that androgyny, or integrating the masculine and the feminine, is the best way to realize one's potential as a human. Gilligan's stages of female moral development has been shown in business settings as an explanation to the different ways men and women handle ethical issues in the workplace as well.[12]


Selected bibliography[edit]


From the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Co-written with her son Jonathan and produced by Prime Stage Theatre in November 2011.
Educational fact sheet about the play.

Book chapters[edit]

  • Gilligan, Carol (1997), "Woman's place in man's life cycle", in Nicholson, Linda, The second wave: a reader in feminist theory, New York: Routledge, pp. 198–215, ISBN 9780415917612. 


  1. ^ "Carol Gilligan | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  2. ^ a b "Carol Gilligan". 1936-11-28. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  3. ^ "NYU - Press Release". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  4. ^ "Gilligan to Be MHC Commencement Speaker :: News & Events :: Mount Holyoke College". 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  5. ^ "Gilligan to Be MHC Commencement Speaker :: News & Events :: Mount Holyoke College". 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  6. ^ "Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: Sisterhood is forever : the women's anth". Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  7. ^ "Gilligan Turns to Fictional Love Story in 'Kyra'". National Public Radio. 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Harvard Office of News and Public Affairs (1997-09-25). "Gilligan a pioneer in gender studies". Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  10. ^ Muuss, R.E. (1988). "Carol Gilligan's theory of sex differences in the development of moral reasoning during adolescence.". Adolescence. 23 (89): 229–43. 
  11. ^ Kyte, Richard (1996). "Moral reasoning as perception: A reading of Carol Gilligan". Hypatia. 11 (3): 97–113. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.1996.tb01017.x. 
  12. ^ White, Thomas (1992). "Business, ethics, and Carol Gilligan's "Two Voices"". Business Ethics Quarterly. 2 (1): 51–61. doi:10.2307/3857223. 
  13. ^ "1992- Carol Gilligan". Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. 
  14. ^ The Heinz Awards, Carol Gilligan profile

External links[edit]