Was Ancient Greece Misogynistic?

Ancient Greece is often considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. It is credited with giving birth to democracy, philosophy, and classical art.

However, one of the most significant criticisms leveled against Ancient Greece is its treatment of women. Was Ancient Greece misogynistic? In this article, we’ll explore this question and try to understand the position of women in Ancient Greece.

Women in Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, women were not considered equal to men. They were expected to stay at home, take care of the household, and raise children.

Women were not allowed to participate in politics or own property. They could not even attend public events or festivals.

The Role of Women in Society

In Ancient Greece, a woman’s primary role was that of a wife and mother. Girls were expected to marry young and have children as soon as possible. Marriage was seen as a way for women to secure their social status and financial security.

Education for Women

Education for women was almost non-existent in Ancient Greece. Girls were taught basic skills like weaving, cooking, and cleaning by their mothers or other female relatives. They were not allowed to attend school or receive any formal education.

Women in Art and Literature

In art and literature, women were often portrayed as passive objects of desire rather than active participants in society. Female characters were usually depicted as beautiful but weak-willed or emotional.

Misogyny in Ancient Greece

Misogyny is the hatred or contempt for women. While it’s difficult to say whether Ancient Greeks hated women outright, it’s clear that they did not consider them equal to men. The fact that women could not participate in politics or own property is evidence of this.

Moreover, there are several examples from Greek literature that suggest misogyny was prevalent in society. In Homer’s Odyssey, for example, women are portrayed as cunning and deceitful. In Euripides’ play Medea, the protagonist is a woman who murders her own children to get revenge on her husband.


In conclusion, it’s fair to say that Ancient Greece was misogynistic to some extent. Women were not given the same opportunities as men and were often seen as inferior.

However, it’s also important to note that Ancient Greece was a product of its time and cultural context. It’s unfair to judge an entire civilization by modern standards.

As we continue to study Ancient Greece and its legacy, we must acknowledge the achievements of both men and women while also recognizing the ways in which women were marginalized and oppressed.