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Gilligan thought that Kohlberg didn't account for the fact that female personalities are more empathetic and
caring so are more likely to be in stage 3 of his theory-good boy, good girl. Meanwhile, boys care more about
authority and justice are more likely to be in stage 4-law and order. Therefore she believes that men aren't
more sophisticated than women but it's innate for them to care more about authority more.
She did a study to try to prove her theory:
She conducted instructed interviews with 29 pregnant women aged 13-55 years. The women were faced
with the real-life dilemma of whether or not to have an abortion or not. She asked each women about her
situation, recored the responses and then analysed them for content. She found that the women's thoughts
tended to focus on issues of responsibility than on justice. They made judgements based on feeling for
others which would put them at stage 3 according to Kohlberg. She concluded that women's moral reasoning
was just as sophisticated as that of men, but different.
From her results, she created her ETHIC OF CARE MODEL:
· LEVEL 1-SELF FOCUSED=Focused on what's best for them and don't consider the needs of others.
· LEVEL 2-SELF SACRIFICE=Put the welfare of others before their own needs.
· LEVEL 3-NON VIOLENT OR UNIVERSAL CARE=Emphasised the importance of not hurting other people.
She stated that some of the statements made at the self-sacrifice stage and non-violence stage could
involve the kind of principles which Kohlberg identified as typical of post-conventional reasoning.
According to SMITH, Gilligan's research seems to show that women tend to put people before principles, as
opposed to men who tend to put principles before people.
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Here's a taster:
· Gilligan has been accused of overemphasising sex differences. Many studies using Kohlberg's
dilemma method show no difference in the sophistication of moral judgements made by women and
men. Walker did a meta analysis of 54 studies and only found sex differences in 8.
· Gilligan only interviewed women in her research. If she interviewed their partners she might have
found that men also have an ethic of care and produce similar care-based arguments.…read more