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Rights of Women Today Essay

Related Topics: Culture Women Lie Family

Pages:5 (1465 words)


Subject:Social Issues


Document Type:Essay


In ancient Athens, it was customary for women to be kept indoors. They were not supposed to be out in public places or mixing with the men. That was considered immodest and bad manners. Though they could come out for social reasons, such as to help family and friends or to attend festivals, their sphere was essentially domestic and in the home was where they were supposed to be.[footnoteRef:2] The famous Greek playwright Euripides had a line in his play The Trojan Women: “What causes women a bad reputation is not remaining inside.”[footnoteRef:3] In ancient Sparta, however, it was just the opposite: women there held positions of power and even ruled the city-state. Spartan women could own land and had other rights that Athenian women did not have.[footnoteRef:4] This difference should not be surprising, however, because these same differences still exist today. The differences that lead to some women staying in the home and other women have roles outside the home are cultural—just as they were in ancient Greece. Athens was known for its artistic and political culture. Sparta was known for its warrior culture. The former was more refined and genteel. The latter was considered basically barbaric by educated Athenians (one reason Athens and Sparta never really got along well). Today, one sees in America how different traditions and cultures create the same kind of differences in the way women perceive their roles. For instance, in traditional Latino homes, many women still believe their role is to be housewives.[footnoteRef:5] They depend on their husbands for their financial support and they tend to the house and take up domestic work. Other women in more liberal American homes believe it is their right and even duty to get a career and work as a professional. They look back at the rights American women have won for themselves and believe they must continue on bearing the torch. Thus, even in modern America, the rights of women are not universally celebrated or pursued: it depends on the culture one grows up with. [2: Lewis, Sian. The Athenian Woman: an iconographic handbook (Routledge, 2013), 138.] [3: Euripides, The Trojan Women,] [4: Fleck, Robert K., and F. Andrew Hanssen. "“Rulers ruled by women”: an economic analysis of the rise and fall of women’s rights in ancient Sparta." Economics of Governance 10, no. 3 (2009): 221-245.] [5: Cauce, Ana Mari, and Melanie Domenech-Rodriguez. "Latino families: Myths and realities." Latino children and families in the United States: Current research and future directions (2002): 3-25.

In some traditional families, Feminism is still considered a hateful word. Some people view Feminism as destructive to families and family values. They see the rise of Feminism as correlating with the rise of the divorce rate and…

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…developments and progressive ideas that get stirred up in the rest of the mix.

That is how American society and culture is today. Friedan, Steinem and other Feminists helped to promote the idea of women’s rights in the latter half of the 20th century, and celebrity activists like Alyssa Milano continue to promote the idea of equality and the rights of women on Twitter whenever there is a cultural challenge to their views—like the recent abortion bill in Georgia. The fact is, however, that modern America is still much like ancient Greece. For all the centuries and years of difference, people really have not changed that much. Cultural views are still formed in one’s education and family, and there are still groups who, like the ancient Athenians, believe that the woman’s role is domestic, while three are other groups, like the ancient Spartans, who are happy to see women in leadership positions outside the home. The fact of the matter is that the notion of women’s rights is as much of a concept that exists in the mind as the notion that motherhood and being a stay at home mom was viewed as a chain in the mind by Friedan. The socio-cultural values that people apply to themselves and their families differs depending on the traditions, the context, and background, and the big picture views that…

Sample Source(s) Used


Cauce, Ana Mari, and Melanie Domenech-Rodriguez. "Latino families: Myths and

realities." Latino children and families in the United States: Current research and future directions (2002): 3-25.

Euripides. The Trojan Women.

Fleck, Robert K., and F. Andrew Hanssen. "“Rulers ruled by women”: an economic analysis of the rise and fall of women’s rights in ancient Sparta." Economics of Governance 10, no. 3 (2009): 221-245.

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. NY: W. W. Norton, 1963.

Lewis, Sian. The Athenian Woman: an iconographic handbook. Routledge, 2013.

Rice, Joy K. "Reconsidering research on divorce, family life cycle, and the meaning of family." Psychology of Women Quarterly 18, no. 4 (1994): 559-584.

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