The role of women in Greek society

Today, in History, we have been looking at the role of women in Greek society. Over the past few weeks we have examined a great deal of evidence from Greek pots. Today we composed some writing to explain what we had found out. We tried to ensure we made clear what class of women we were talking about, highlighting the lack of evidence and also expressing uncertainty at the evidence we have. Harry and James worked with Mr Stanley. Here’s their explanation.



We do not know a great deal about Greek women because most of the evidence is about men. For instance, the majority of Greek vases depict the lives of men or gods rather than women.


We do know from vases that rich women had slaves and their jobs involved a lot of work both inside and outside the house such as collecting wool and then making clothes. Also, from reading Greek plays, we know that rich women were rarely allowed to leave the house. They could get into trouble with their husbands if they did so. Rich women had the responsibility of taking care of the children by making sure that they were well fed and educated. Girls did not attend school. They were taught how to spin and weave and look after their house by their mothers. Again, evidence from vases suggests that wealthier women were taught how to read and write.


Poor women had more reason to leave the house because they would not have slaves. We know from looking at a vase that they would place vases on their heads and take them to the fountain in order to get water. If the vase was upright it would be full of water, if it was on its side, then it would be empty. Poor women might have to earn money outside the home. This might involve working as a musician, dancer, cook, cleaner, nanny or even a barmaid.

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1 Response to The role of women in Greek society

  1. melisa says:

    Actually, wouldn’t mind a bit more time at home weaving…….

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