Sample Paper on Role of Women in Ancient Greek Society

Role of Women in Ancient Greek Society


The times of the ancient Greece society from 400BC were no different from other societies and how they treated women however not all Greeks mistreated women. Whereas in some societies women were subjected to a lot of difficulty in all sphere of life be it in matrimony, acquisition of property and succession and all other day to day activities, majority of women were empowered and played very important roles including owning and protecting property in the ancient Greece (Blubdell  1995).

Role of Women

When it came to life in matrimony and marriage, a woman in ancient Greece did not have the discretion to decide who they wanted to marry and this decision was left to the male members of her family. Marriage was not easy for any woman to endure (Apel 2004). In marriage, women were to strictly take care of the home, bear children and take care of them. Women in the home including supervising slaves (Sacks, Murray and Bunson 1995) performed all other tasks.

The women made sure that the home was well provided for and all members of the family were fed and taken care of. The role of women as regards the family was basically similar to all and Greece was no exception. There were several women in a setting and slaves were a very important component of the Greek society. The head woman was in charge of the slaves and their welfare. The women made sure that the slaves performed the duties assigned to them. The slaves were assigned to do most of the “dirty” work including clearing of wastes

Women were seen as being oppressed and given minor roles, women in the Greek society became a very important element of literature development. There were women who were considered very great poets like the Diotma who wrote several poems. This was possible after women passed down history over time by word of mouth. Women therefore inspired some of the greatest arts of all time (Robinowitz and Auanger 2002).

Whereas women were oppressed especially in some cities or states, there are those women who had greater roles like the women of the Spartan society. Whereas the women did not actively participate in the various wars the Spartans went to, they were given greater roles like the management of Estates in the absence if men who went to war. Women owned property including land and they accounted for the largest property owners of the Greek society.

Unlike women from the Athenian society the Spartan women were married at maturity and had absolute freedom. They also went to schools and therefore were considered important to the society. Women in the Sparta society also participated in athletics competitions representing their regions (Pomeroy 2002).

Women were also highly regarded and took part in various religious festivals including visiting family tombs. The goddesses that were worshiped at different stages of their lives saw the high placement of women.


It is however noteworthy that over time the roles of women have been enhanced in the Greek society with the development of civilization. Women had to endure difficult tasks that the society in the ancient Greece offered. The ability of women owning property and even managing vast properties in the ancient Spartan society of the Greeks was replicated by other Greek societies that provided very limited roles to women.



Apel, M. A. (2004). Home life in ancient Greece. New York: PowerKids Press.

Blundell, S. (1995). Women in ancient Greece. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Pomeroy, S. B. (2002). Spartan women. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rabinowitz, N. S., & Auanger, L. (2002). Among women: From the homosocial to the homoerotic in the ancient world. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Sacks, D., Murray, O., & Bunson, M. (1995). A dictionary of the ancient Greek world. New York: Oxford University Press.