Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind by Mary Field Belenky, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger and Jill Mattuck Tarule, Reviewed by Patricia O'Hara

  • Patricia O'Hara


Introduction:  The subtitle of Women's Ways of Knowing, The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind, is indicative of the authors' approach in their study of women's intellectual development.  Tracing women's maturation as knowers, the author realized the impossibility of extricating knowing from its social and psychological contexts.  A study of women's thinking turns out to be as much a study of their "voices", which include those moral and psychological, familial and societal dimensions that help create the individual voice, that contribute to a definition of self.  It is this sense of self, according to the authors, that is at the heart of women's experience as knowers in a way that is saliently different from men's.  As their study indicates, gender proves a pervasive and enduring force in women's intellectual lives, shaping not only their roles as knowers, but, in fundamental ways, their modes of knowing.