Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind” as Want to Read:
Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  687 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Despite the progress of the women's movement, many women still feel silenced in their families and schools. This moving and insightful bestseller, based on in-depth interviews with 135 women, explains why they feel this way. Updated with a new preface exploring how the authors' collaboration and research developed, this tenth anniversary edition addresses many of the quest ...more
Paperback, 10th Anniversary Edition, 288 pages
Published January 9th 1997 by Basic Books (first published 1986)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Women's Ways of Knowing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Women's Ways of Knowing

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  687 ratings  ·  46 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I started this review, I originally wrote:

I think every woman should . . .

But, since I've read this book, I start this review:

Every woman should read this book. It goes much deeper than this, but at a basic level, once you've read this, you will think twice before you end a sentence that is a statement of fact with a question mark, and before you qualify anything you say with I think, or maybe, or this is just my opinion . . .

Language is our primary tool for interacting with the world. Wo
Amelia Strydom
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-loved-books
Been wanting to read this oldie but goodie for years. Finally bought it on Kindle and spent all weekend devouring it. What a wonderful, insightful book. Makes me understand myself and my own history of learning SO much better. Wish I hadn't waited so long, this book really deepens my understanding of 'teaching' and creating a supportive learning environment, especially for women.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All women and all men interested in understanding all women.
Recommended to Lorie by: It was required reading in grad school.
This book, by validating and providing a nomenclature for everything I unconsciously already knew about myself, CHANGED MY LIFE.
Dec 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: increase awareness
This book opened my eyes to different learning and behavioral tendencies in women or perhaps between women and between men/women. It is a must read for increasing awareness or improving one's own learning approach. Its an easy read with a simple structure addressing challenging concepts such as linguistics, language, self-esteem, societal roles, discreet and ever present moral pressures.
May 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Meen by: Annmarie Guzy
The very first Gender Studies class I took was Gender in Comp & Rhetoric course, and this was one of the texts we used. As with everything we read that semester, I loved it just because it had me questioning every little thing we take forgranted about our lives and selves. However, even then the book felt very elitist. I'll never forget how offended I felt (though I couldn't articulate it at the time) at the image of these upper-middle-class, fabulously well-educated women sitting on the floor o ...more
Alex Houseknecht
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed
This is an excellent epistemological investigation that focuses on the experiences of women in order to decolonize the male-dominated field of epistemological theories. The authors take us through five major stages of development, including silence, received knowledge, subjective knowledge, procedural knowledge, and constructed knowledge. After journeying through these developmental stages, we see the implications for family life and education.

I connected with the idea of the teacher as a midwif
Oct 03, 2007 rated it liked it
This book was one of several optional books listed for one of my graduate classes (social and emotional development). I chose to read a different book for the class, but bought this one too because it sounded interesting. I found time to read it this summer. It describes the authors' phenomenological study conducted in the late 70s that examines the ways in which women conceive the self, their voice and their thinking/learning. It compares this to male ways of knowing. The authors contend that w ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this after about ten plus years. It is always interesting to revisit a text that changes you. The first part was still very powerful for me- especially as my perspective has changed from grad student to professor. I still feel that the categorization is too linear - I think they should be perceived as contextual.
The second half was difficult to read- it felt to black and white and from a dominant culture perspective.
I still think, even with my criticisms, that this book is vital
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Drawn from the voices of women of varied backgrounds, Women's Ways of Knowing reveals the unique perspectives from which women view reality and draw conclusions about truth, knowledge, and authority. An intellectual and political Our Bodies, Ourselves, this book has had significant impact on debates about learning and gender, and will continue to have resonance throughout the fields of education and psychology for years to come." From the Goodreads description.

A book I have given to young women
Cassandra Cantrell
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a beautiful book for women in that it confirms that females learning processes are different than males. The authors even describe what the learning "looks like" as well as the procedural stages and what happens if the learning development is arrested for any reason. I only gave the the book 4 & 1/2 stars instead of 5 because it is academically written. The academic reach of the book puts the information out of reach for the "silent" women and for "received" learners--to use the aut ...more
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book last year for a class but what really impressed me about this book is that the authors clearly and distinctly discus that there is a difference in how men learn and how women learn. In teaching or training disciplines it should be a must read as this really was a great way to identify or self-discover why I learn the way I do and how family, society and norms influence gender based learning. Great read.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read based on studies done on women and how their upbringing, education etc influences the style of "knowing" they adopt and come to value also how it can be changed over the years with support, awareness and acceptance as individuals.
While it was written many years ago still somethings dont change even with time regarding womens issues.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, pregnant woman
a good book for both men and women to read. important lessons for trusting yourself as a woman to make decisions from the gut.
a prerequisite for a class i took, probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise but i'm glad i did.
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
The explanations on how woman come to know what they know, which are found in this book, do not simply seem to apply to just woman. The concepts presented here are rather universal.
Nojood Alsudairi
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Both men and women
Shelves: non-fiction
Woman, you need to read this book!
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read about myself all throughout this book. it was excellent. Good call, Lisa. It's a great treatise on how women come to think about being thinkers.
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Research & theories on the development of knowledge in women, presenting important alternatives to theories created by studying only males. ...more
Jo Dagustun
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book - a real classic on learning/personal development that deserves to be read by all educators/ self-educators.
Larry Gallagher
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A cornerstone of my dissertation work and lifelong interest - helping people wean from authority, pass through relativism, and learn to embrace both evidence and uncertainty.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was useful in finding a way to define the epistemology of women's traditional education.
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was profound to me in 1987 as I finished graduate school and entered a career. It seemed dated when I reread it in 2012, but I have grown and ideas have evolved.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was assigned reading back in circa 92 for a graduate Political Psychology Course. Was an interesting and fun read.
David Briant
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Serious psychology. Biblical in stature. Essential for any man who wants to understand and connect with women.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book that spans the time when women were oppressed through societal norms. They had no voice, yet found their identity through the experiences of other women whom they identified with, gleaned courage from, and began a journey of self-discovery. Women speak an emotional language of the heart. When placed into a circle, they become a united front of powerful energy that can explode synergistically to make change happen.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was given this by a friend who knew I liked Women's studies. I am very grateful for this gift. Yes, it's a text book, but not preachy. Some things have changed since this book was marketed years ago. But as some groups try to push women back, this book will have any woman with a brain and the men who appreciates her shoving those hate groups back.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, borrowed-it
This is a primary work on women in education. It was interesting to see the model that Belenky et al. put together although I'm not sure I fully support the idea. I did find some very interesting bits mixed in. The idea that so many of their subjects had been victimized seemed more an indicator of the time of writing than a real sample in the population. Still, very interesting.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An insightful book about how women learn the things they know and the kinds of psychological positions it puts them in along with strategies to change knowing practices. The methodology of research was evocatively explained and the book really made the stories of these women come alive.
Melinda Christensen
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, women
This book helped me to think in new ways about what makes up knowledge and identity. It is based on interviews with 135 women, and why they feel silenced in their families and schools. I must read this one again!
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It articulated and affirmed my experience like no book I’ve ever read.
Women's Ways Of Knowing (Paperback)
by Mary Field Belenky
« previous 1 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • West with the Night
  • The Tortilla Curtain
  • Freedom at Midnight
  • Colored People
  • One True Thing
  • Nectar in a Sieve
  • Beach Music
  • Mutant Message Down Under
  • Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale #1)
  • I, Rigoberto Menchu
  • East, West
  • Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
  • The Mountain Between Us (Eureka, Colorado, #2)
  • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
  • She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • The Bone People
  • Snow Falling on Cedars
  • The English Patient
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Historian Alexis Coe's new book, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, arrived in U.S. bookstores in February. Coe i...
138 likes · 29 comments