Arguing that men and women can have equal rights and still have fundamentally different perspectives, Carol Gilligan founded “difference feminism” and transformed the field of psychology. Gilligan earned a PhD in psychology from Harvard in 1964 and briefly taught psychology at the University of Chicago, where she refused to turn in grades that might jeopardize students’ draft statuses. She then returned to teach psychology at Harvard, working alongside leading theorists Erik Erikson and Lawrence Kohlberg. Gilligan noted that female students were far more likely to drop certain psychology classes than male students, and after interviewing students, she theorized that the women students’ concerns and experiences were not reflected in the classes—that women had different moral criteria and developed psychologically in different ways than men. Her theories, published in In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, led to new understandings of gender, social relationships, and identity development in psychology. Gilligan wrote several important works on gender and psychology and in 2001 she oversaw the establishment of the Harvard Center on Gender and Education. She teaches at NYU and is a visiting professor at Cambridge University.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Carol Gilligan." (Viewed on May 26, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/gilligan-carol>.