In summary, the lessons we have learned from listening to women's voices are that educators can best help women develop their own authentic voices by: emphasizing connection over separation; understanding and acceptance over assessment; collaboration over debate; respecting knowledge that emerges from firsthand experience; and encouraging students to evolve their own patterns of work based on the problems they are pursuing.
A next step in this important research is to further validate and extend the findings and to apply them in education. The validity of the findings is best judged, at our current level of knowledge, by the reception accorded to the study by other researchers. That reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Further development is underway through the efforts of these and other researchers. It is up to us in the educational system to make these findings known to teachers and to women generally, and to work to make education more "women-friendly" in the ways outlined above as well as through ways that evolve as we integrate these findings into our understanding of women as adult learners.
Joan McLaren is the Director of Program and Staff Development at Red River Community College in Winnipeg, Manitoba.