Ancient Greek Women

Ancient Greek women were viewed by males as second class citizens. Girls growing up had to obey the orders of their father.

Once married, they obeyed the orders of the husband.

Ancient Greek men saw women as inferior beings and not very smart.

Work at home

Most women in ancient Greece were forced to stay in the house. They were expected to give birth to their children and raise them.

Their jobs within the home included cooking, cleaning, making clothing and teaching children about the Greek gods.

Many women were not allowed to leave their home and were forced to live in different rooms.

Women with wealth status

Married women with wealthy husbands very seldom left their residence. They would have ample slaves to help with household work like cleaning and cooking as well as shopping.

They would pass time within a separate part of house away from the males. After preparing meals, they would eat alone or with the other women in the house.

Women were expected to bear and raise children, mainly sons.

Poor women

Many times poor women had more freedom than their wealthy counterparts. Poor women also had more responsibilities because they owned no slaves.

Slaves usually went to the market, took care of the children and ran household errands. Without slaves poor women were able to go outside of the house more often.

Poor women also took jobs working in local shops or as a servant for wealthy families.

Legal rights of women

Women did not enjoy any type of legal rights in ancient Greece. Women in most city-states including Athens could not vote, own land or participate in government.

In reality, women had no more rights than slaves.

Arranged marriages

At 12 or 13 years of age, most women entered into an arranged marriage. The marriages were arranged by their fathers.

They had no say in the matter of whom or where they got married. Many times the younger women were forced to marry men that were twice or three times their age.

Women who were slaves

Slave women were viewed as the lowest class of people. Slave women often were treated with no respect.

Slave women performed numerous jobs that range from being a household servant to working in the market or agricultural fields to making textiles in a factory.

Spartan Women

Spartan women were an exception to the rule. Spartan women enjoyed respect from their counterparts.

They were viewed as the Mothers of Warriors. Even though their rights did equal that of a male in Sparta, they enjoyed more freedom.

Spartan women received educations, learned how to dance and could play music as well as sports. Spartan women also enjoyed the freedom of movement around town and they could own property.

Facts about women in ancient Greece

  • Women were expected to give birth to boys.
  • Wealthy women enjoyed less freedom than poor women.
  • Women in most city-states could not vote, own property or participate in government.
  • Women were forced into arranged marriages at young ages.
  • Slave women were considered to be the lowest class of people.
  • Spartan women received respect from their husbands and community.
  • Spartan women received educations and could own property.
  • Women were considered to be second class citizens to males.

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