In the Golden Age of the Greek society what was the role of women?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Of course, the status of women varied from polis to polis.  When we speak of the "Golden Age" in Greece, we are typically speaking of Athens so I will address the role of women in that polis.

Women in Athens played no role in politics so it is easy to think that they had no major role in society.  However, women in Athens had power through their roles in family and in religion.  In terms of family, women tended to serve as managers of a household's property.  They were allowed to own their own property as well, though they were less able to sell or give away their property than men were.  In terms of religion, women acted as priestesses and could gain power in that way.

This is not to say, however, that Athenian women were equal to men.  Besides the political and legal restrictions on them, there were also social ones.  Women, for example, were not allowed the same leeway to have extramarital affairs that men enjoyed.

Overall, then, women were certainly subordinate to men in Golden Age Athens, but they did have some power through their role in family and religion.

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