Blog 2

2 Commentsby   |  01.31.13  |  Student Posts

There is no doubt that the Greeks have an enormous amount of impact on contemporary thinking.  I will take Plato, one of the most influential Greek philosopher and feminism, the idea that advocates equal rights for women, as an example.

Feminism calls for the political, economic and social equality of the sexes, including establishing equal opportunities for women in education and workplace.  Dating back to ancient Greece, some of Plato’s views regarding on the equality of the sexes can be considered as the beginning thoughts of Feminism. In his renowned work The Republic, Plato demonstrated that there was actually no great difference between men and women in ability. He wrote: “differentiation in treatment between one guardian and another should be based on difference of talent, not on difference of sex.” Therefore, the difference of talents is actually the difference between individuals rather than genders. The right for women to be educated is always the core issue of Feminism. Plato emphasized the same issue in his theory of education. He wanted every boy and girl to be educated. The Republic wrote:“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.” He claimed that women should receive the same education as men do. The same kind of education includes physical and educational training, even the art of war. Seeking the equal right for women in employment in another key issue of Feminism. Discrimination in occupation based on gender still exits today, Plato, however, strongly encouraged women to fully participate in the work outside home.  In The Republic, in his ideal society, women are assigned important role. Plato believed that women could have the same competence as man to participate in Guardian’s role, or even in governing in the state.

Although the notion that Plato is the first feminist or the forerunner of feminism is controversial, his perception of women is really advanced at his time and in some way, may truly influences the emergence of feminism.


  1. Kelsey Hilton
    8:19 am, 02.01.13

    Yet, it took thousands of years for a movement to emerge. Here in America, I’m not cultured enough to know about other parts of the world, our grandparents’ generation still restricted women from the working world. Our generation is much better. Right now women outnumber men in university enrollment but there is still discrimination in different fields, such as math and science. I appreciate the idea that women and men should be treated as equals but Aristotle’s golden mean still hasn’t been reached.
    Thanks Mengyuan!

  2. Carter Wells
    11:05 pm, 02.01.13

    I am definitely not an expert on feministic movements, so I found these quotes and ideas to be very interesting. Because women were devalued in our culture for so long, it is interesting to see that there were advocates of gender equality in early philosophy and politics (regardless of their effectiveness). If nothing else, one of the greatest minds in recorded history had the foresight to separate ability and gender. I’m sure, like most of his philosophy, this claim fell under harsh scrutiny, by the academics and politicians of the time, but without vocalizing ideas that contrast social paradigms such as gender equality, progress will not be made. Therefore, I definitely agree that his ideas about females helped society to move past the norms that prevented advancement. While we have not reached equilibrium, radical thinkers such as Plato have given us stepping stones towards equality.

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