Athenian women, according to different philosophers are considered weak species that should always be under a guardian. According to them, a woman is not in position to make sound decisions unless she is guided by a male species. …
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Women’s roles are well defined, being depicted as slaves to the community. Another role is that of a wife for the continuity of the society. This paper focuses on how different institutions in Athenian society have led to oppression of women.
Athenian women were socialized into having a conservative approach towards life. Women who were noted to be vocal were termed as prostitutes. The society viewed a woman’s place to be home, roles like childcare and spinning defined a valuable woman in the society. Women from poor households went through a tasking experience compared to those from rich households. Due to poor economic background, this woman was forced to seek for a job through which she would raise funds to assist her household. Acquisition of clothes for her family was done through personal efforts. She was to engage in sewing and collecting water from the rich. These duties arose due to the fact that, there are no funds to be used in hiring slaves (Classen 2007) On the other hand, women from rich household enjoyed some privileges compared to those from poor households. Their lives though with full of oppression from men, she was relieved of some duties. Slaves were hired to work on farms therefore; they did not have to participate in tasking jobs like weeding and planting. There major role was to coordinate the slaves in households and offering training to different households. Women both from rich and poor households were not allowed to freely interact with men. In case of any visitations men were the only people allowed to welcome visitors after which women were to live in the guest room in case the visitor was a male (Tetlow 1980). This was to create a drift between men and women. The Athenian society highly stratified women; there were those from wives class, concubines and the hetaerae class. Those from wives class were not to participate in social ceremonies apart from those that were religious. Concubines were gained from poor children who had been considered as outcast due to their parent’s immoral nature. The third class is comprised of educated women. This group of elites was majorly to provide company to men in ceremonies only after being paid handsomely. Concubines and learned women have been drawn as providers of companionship to men (Graham 2003). Religion Religious functions were the only functions that Athenian women could participate freely. A priestess was appointed who received much respect from the society; this can be attributed to good morals. There were religious festivals carried out and women acted as the main participants. Virginity was vital for these ceremonies to be successful; girls were chosen from the ruling class to participate in procession. The main reason of choosing virgins according to Athenian society was a sign of purity and good luck (Lipshitz 2001). The Greek religion was made up of different beliefs at the same time rituals that governed the society. They believed in existence of many gods and goddesses who had different roles in fulfilling societal needs. Gods did not have equal powers. There were those that were powerful than others. The society believed in fate especially on matters concerning wars. Dead people were to be respected due to the fear that they might haunt the public. Spirits of the dead according to the Greek society did not die with them therefore in case they were provoked the society would face environmental catastrophes. Athenian women had little influence in the operations of the society. They were denied legal rights. Ownership of property was mainly for the men who later leased it to their wives or sisters. Women were
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