Chapter One Difference I One day, late in the fall of 1975, Carol Gilligan sat down at her dining room table with a pad of paper and wrote "In a Different Voice" at the top of the first page. She was a thirty-nine-year-old part-time assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, taking a year off to help settle her three sons in a new neighborhood. Later she said she started writing that day "for no reason." She was speaking in exactly the same way that girls do when you ask them what they've been doing on the edge of the playground during recess while the boys have been playing pickup ball and chase and steal-the-hat and the girls say, "Nothing." "The men whose theories have largely informed this understanding of development have all been plagued by the same problem, the problem of women, whose sexuality remains more diffuse, whose perception of self is so much more tenaciously embedded in relationships with others and whose moral dilemmas hold them in a mode of judgment that is insistently contextual," Carol wrote. "The solution has been to consider women as either deviant or deficient in their development."1 But whatCarol asked, as she wrote on long yellow sheets in a room looking out over a wide lawn filled with moss-footed beeches planted a century before, a dining room walled with elegant paintings of merchant ships and schooners, of men and boys fishing in an eighteenth-century Dutch seawhat if the problem is not women? What if the problem is the theories that say women are a problem? In 1972, the year Nixon beat McGovern in a landslide, Gilligan began asking men and women students at Harvard how they faced moral conflicts. She had also decided to study young men forced to choose whether or not to fight in Vietnam, a moral dilemma that was ripping American families and the United States apart. The war was so unpopular, and yet so many U.S. troops were therehalf a million at the peakthat you had to be involved. Either you were fighting in Vietnam or you were fighting about Vietnam somewhere else. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the songs on the radio"Universal Soldier," John Lennon's "Imagine"were about putting an end to war. The atmosphere was charged with antiwar feeling and rang with the protesters' chant "Hell, no! We won't go!" Marches, protests, rallies, sit-ins, and strikes pitted a civilian army of student war resisters against an army of police in riot gear virtually every time you turned on the TV news or picked up a newspaper. Then, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court conceded to women the power to make a moral decision as wrenching as the choice of whether or not to go to war: whether or not to have an abortion. The Court's decision came after an intense nationwide struggle by women activists that had already led to liberalization of abortion laws in California, Colorado, and North Carolina in 1967 and to the repeal of New York's antiabortion law in 1970. Gilligan, meanwhile, was planning her draft study and lining up draft-age men to interview. But the draft ended before she could start interviewing. So in 1974 she decided to study women who were in the throes of deciding whether to have first-term abortions. "I'm talking with pregnant women at a time when the Supreme Court of this country has said that women can speak their thoughts aloud, that women's voices can guide women's decisions, can be the decisive voice. The womRobb, Christina is the author of 'This Changes Everything The Relational Revolution in Psychology', published 2007 under ISBN 9780312426156 and ISBN 0312426151.