1992 – Carol Gilligan

By listening to the way children and teen-agers speak about themselves and their lives, Carol Gilligan changed the way educators think about adolescent development and education.

That research, revealed in her book “In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development,” led to Gilligan’s selection as winner of the 1992 award.

In the book, Gilligan challenges the notion that moral development is the same for girls and boys. For boys, the higher stages of moral development recognize ever-greater notions of rights which individuals enjoy. Girls, however, begin to see issues in terms of responsibilities.

Past research considered only the male perspective, and women’s “voices” have been lost in the process of accommodating researchers’ expectations. By incorporating the gender differences into their work, researchers more effectively can study adolescent development and teachers can help adolescents become more well-rounded individuals.

Gilligan, a professor of education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, already has had an impact in such fields as philosophy, ethics, rhetoric and composition, women’s history and law.

“I know of no one who has offered more fundamental ideas that are reshaping the way we consider children’s education than she,” said Patricia Graham, former dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard.