The Role of Women in Ancient Greek Society

The women in ancient Greek society faced various challenges in fulfilling their responsibilities as crafted by the society. It is worth noting that the men highly undermined women, and they did not have prominent positions in the society.

During the Enlightenment era, the women in the Greece culture were considered domestic figures. In this concept, they were expected to bring up families by nurturing the children and caring for the husbands. Therefore, they were not allowed to participate in public forums in debates. In addition, they were not allowed to participate in governance matters and could not secure formal employment. During and after the archaic period, women would not be allowed to own assets such as land as were previously allowed. They were also subjected to the gender segregation laws. Their fathers had taken the active role in safeguarding women before marriage, and the responsibility was transferred to the marrying men. Women would not also participate in social events or sports but were supposed to take care of the estates. Although the categories of women in Greece differed by being Athens or Sparta, the place of women in the traditional society remained similar.

The traditional laws required them to manage the domestic affairs before, while the men assumed formal roles in politics and the working place. In fact, women were not allowed to move out, but they were supposed to remain indoors, manage the house maidens, and entertain their husbands. However, in the 19th century, women’s roles gradually changed, with many women participating in the revolutionary wars. With the Sparta women leading in gaining gender freedom as compared to the Athenians, women started championing for their rights, a situation that improved the status of women in the society.



Sancisi‐Weerdenburg, H. (2013). Exit Atossa. Images of Women in Greek Historiography on Persia. Herodotus: Volume 2: Herodotus and the World, 2, 135.

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