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Gender Studies on Morality - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 124
Morality/Gender Studies/Upton: Gender studiesVsKohlberg: According to Gilligan (1982(1), 1996(2)), the ordering of the stages therefore reflects a gender bias. Placing abstract principles of justice (stage 4) above relationships and concern for others (stage 3) is based on a male norm and reflects the fact that most of Kohlberg’s research used male participants. Gilligan therefore argues that these orientations are indeed different, but that one is not necessarily better than the other.
However, there is some debate about the extent of the evidence to support Gilligan’s claims of gender differences in moral reasoning; a meta-analysis of the evidence by Jaffee and Hyde (2000)(3) found that gender differences in reasoning were small and usually better explained by the nature of the dilemma than by gender. The evidence now seems to suggest that care-based reasoning is used by both males and females to evaluate interpersonal dilemmas, while justice reasoning is applied to societal dilemmas. >Morality/Kohlberg, >Morality/Cultural psychology.


1. Gilligan, C (1982) In a D4fferent Voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
2. Gilligan. C (1996) The centrality of relationships in psychological development: a puzzle, some evidence and a theory, in Noam, GG and Fischer, KW (eds) Development and Vulnerability in Close Relationships. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
3. Jaffee, S and Hyde,JS (2000) Gender differences in moral orientation: a meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 126: 703-2 6.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gender Studies
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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