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In ancient Greece, Greeks believed that women are inferior to men and hence, women are denied to the access of opportunities and education. Plato and Aristotle, two of the most influential philosophers in the Ancient World, had significant views on the nature of women. Among contemporary women’s liberationist, Plato was beginning to emerge as a feminist. While on the other hand, Aristotle was labelled as a male chauvinist.
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In Plato’s ideal, he argued that even though the physical natural capabilities between males and females are different, the level of education and opportunities are supposed to be equally offered to both women and men. This means that both genders are qualified to take up the role as being a guardian. “Discriminatory treatment can only be justified when such differences are relevant” (Calvert, 1975, p.232). There is no field in which a woman has to be excluded simply because she is a woman. However, Plato hold the position that “when men and women have corresponding ranges of talents, men possess these talents to a greater degree” (Calvert, 1975, p.238) , suggesting that both men and women may possess the same talents, skills and capabilities but those of men will always be superior to women. These contradictory views Plato firmly believed in were applicable in two contexts. In the context of equal educational opportunities, Plato believed in equality and inclusivity between both genders. On the contrary, in the context of law and politics, Plato strongly advocated the traditional view that woman should not be allowed to interfere with positions of authority. On a whole, Plato discriminated against women as although he set a stage for women to have the chance of receiving the same qualifications as men, he denied them from using that qualification to hold positions of power.
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In his notion, the entire state is successfully established only when differences and natural hierarchies are imposed on the community. “The ultimate end of the state, happiness, is attained through the participation of all its members in accordance with the functions proper to them” (Femenías, 1994, p.165). Thus, the natural hierarchy between male and female is necessary: a relation of superior to inferior; ruler to ruled. This superiority of a man to a woman is dictated by nature and cannot be conquered by laws or beliefs. However, “the subordinate situation of female is not given by a natural order, but by a purely social order based on the need of a type of societal organisation” (Femenías, 1994, p.168). It implies that people, regardless to in which era, have their stereotype of the social role between men and women. In Ancient Greece, women are expected to stay at home and take care of their children. Their only responsibility is to maintain the biological reproduction. Conversely, men are, first of all, labelled as a political animal in society as they have the authority of commanding. In Aristotelian, as women do not meet the necessary criteria for being part of humankind, such as freedom and capacity, they are eventually not considered as a perfect human being.
Plato had recognised Greeks’ traditional views on the nature of women men and hence women are denied to access opportunity and education and tried to oppose to it, arguing that the prejudice on women could or Plato had recognised it and opposed to it, arguing that the prejudice on should be changed. However, Aristotle thought that this was how life women could or should be changed, however, Aristotle thought that ought to be, with women in subjection to male. Yet, when it comes to this was how life ought to be, with women in subjection to male. Yet, politics, they both achieve a consensus which women are not allowed when it comes to politics, they both achieve a consensus which to interfere with politics.
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