[...] those who have studied Rachel Carson, Barbara McClintock, and other women pioneers of Western scientific thought have suggested that the originality of these women sprang in part from their rootedness in a different cultural ethos—a women's ethos of connectedness—different from the ethos of competitiveness and individualism of the men of their culture. (35)
Ahmed is interested in the difference of perspective—in the different ways of thinking and interacting with the world—between men and women. Though she discusses this mostly in terms of religion (men's Islam versus women's Islam), she sees a similar principle governing other parts of women's lives: that personal identity, a connection to community and family, forms their consciousnesses.
Ahmed uses the "maleness" of competition and individualism to oppose this ideal, but she doesn't limit these traits to men alone. She speaks of them as traditionally male qualities that can be taken up by anyone. In a similar way, she speaks of "women's Islam" as not exclusively belonging to women. It is an oral tradition, part of folk culture as opposed to the official, textual, and totally male world of "men's Islam."