Dr. Carol Gilligan Selects Winsor for Research Study on Adolescent Girls

The Winsor School is excited to be a part of a new research project called Strengthening Healthy Resistance and Courage in Girls. This study is being conducted by psychologist, ethicist, and researcher Dr. Carol Gilligan, a professor at New York University, in collaboration with The Hewitt School, a K-12 independent girls’ school in New York City. Dr. Gilligan visited Winsor a few weeks ago. She had an opportunity to attend classes, talk with students and experience the daily life of our vibrant community.

Dr. Gilligan’s research on girls between 1981 and 1991 created a paradigm shift in the psychology of adolescent development. Her groundbreaking book, In a Different Voice [1982] reframed psychological thought which had historically excluded the voices and experiences of women. Her later works, including Meeting at the Crossroads [1993], examined “what girls give up on the way to womanhood” and their development as they move through adolescence and encounter conventional patriarchal structures.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Gilligan and her research team on this project. The goal of this work is to strengthen and empower girls’ voices, and to understand how they are viewing and experiencing the world today,” according to Science Faculty and Institutional Researcher Denise Labieniec. “We are honored that Dr. Gilligan chose Winsor as one of the places to begin this necessary work,” she added.

Joining Dr. Gilligan will be Dr. Tonya Leslie, researcher, author and founder of weneed2talk.co, an organization dedicated to anti-racism and cultural competence education, and Dr. Naomi Snider, researcher, psychoanalyst and co-author of Why Does Patriarchy Persist? As we continue to navigate a contentious political climate, a racial reckoning, an adolescent mental health crisis, and a complicated and shifting understanding of gender, all within an evolving post-pandemic landscape, there is no better time to revisit this work.

This round of interviews is part of a pilot study, which means that the goal is to raise questions and generate ideas. It is not an endpoint, but a beginning. Dr. Gilligan and her team will begin next week by interviewing twelve randomly selected students at Winsor and eighteen at The Hewitt School. The themes that emerge will suggest next steps for future work that will likely include girls' voices in other contexts. You will be hearing more about this study and some other related projects in the coming weeks.