What were the roles of women in Ancient Greece? Did class or location make a signficant difference in assessing their rights?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The role of women was rather circumscribed in Ancient Greece.  There were major differences between the roles of women in Sparta and in other parts of Greece, but there was little difference in rights between women of various stations in society.

Women in most of Ancient Greece were very much subservient to men.  They were expected to remain in the home at essentially all times.  The main role of women was to act as mothers to children and to take care of the house.  Women of the upper classes also had to manage the household servants.  Women did not have all that much contact with men, even with their husbands.  The men were out of the house the whole day and they tended to socialize with other men even when they were home.  They were often much older than their wives and had little in common with them.

The main difference between women was between Spartan women and those of the rest of Greece.  Spartan women were expected to be involved in public life.  They were expected to exercise and be strong.  They had much more freedom of movement than women in any other part of Greece did.