Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


Using a narrow sample in his study of moral development, Lawrence Kohlberg in developing his theory of Ethics of Justice defined the “moral as the realm of abstract universal principles formulated by disembodied subjects” (Hekman, 2013, p. 101). Kohlberg resulted that women’s level of what is ethically normal is less than what is in men. Consequently, “more often influenced in their judgments by their feeling, women show less sense of justice than men” (Freud, 1925, pp. 257-258). To challenge Kohlberg’s Ethics of Justice, in 1982 In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan shifted the voice of moral psychology by pointing that what Kohlberg identified as problems in women were in fact problems in the framework of interpretation. Gilligan (1982) responded to Kohlberg by emphasizing that “women not only define themselves in a context of human relationship but also judge themselves in terms of their ability to care” (p. 17). More importantly, by developing her theory based on theme rather than characterizing it by gender, Gilligan called her theory of Ethics of Care as the ethics of human and avoided making “care” as a feminine element and/or “justice” as a masculine factor only. Then Robert Greenleaf brings Carol Gilligan’s care perspective in action by creating opportunities for servant leaders to seek a positive systemic change in the higher education system or any other institutions. Consequently, under the supervision of a different leadership that “manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served” (Greenleaf, 1991, p. 6), the journey of developing just citizens who care about the world around them just begins. Then, to implement and practice the care perspective, the Servant Leader might engage Character Education (CE) programs defined under moral psychology by care perspective and its followers.


Shima Rostami is a human rights and social justice activist who is working toward her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Lindenwood University. Her doctoral study focuses on ‘Developing moral education to combat human trafficking’. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director and President of Gateway Human Trafficking (GHT), a non-profit that is committed to educating our community and inspiring positive systemic change to end human trafficking in the Greater St. Louis Area.

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