Plato (or Socrates) the first feminist?


Hope your reading is going well.

In section 451d (or page 1079 in our edition), Socrates starts a discussion about why women should have all the same jobs as men. He states clearly that gender should not be the determining factor but rather whether someone is suited to do the job.

“There is no way of life concerned with the management of the city that belongs to a woman because she’s a woman or to a man because he’s a man…”

I don’t know of any other extended written dialogue about the equality of women that precedes Plato.

Happy weekend,


15. September 2008 by Arrian
Categories: Commentary, Plato | Tags: | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. <p>Bruce,</p><p>Yes – love that part. I found it more compelling than I at first thought I would. At first his division of the soul seemed arbitrary and designed to simply complement the division of the city. It is that but it turns out to have more depth.</p><p>Separately, I’ll also note that when you get to section 463 (page 1090) Plato goes into a very interesting direction concerning how the citizens will relate to each other in the city.</p><p>This is a beautiful sentiment:</p><p>"Whenever anything bad or good happens to a single one its citizens, such a city above all others will say that the affected part is its own and will share in the pleasure or pain as a whole."</p><p>Maybe such a cultural norm might be possible in another 2,500 years for our world – but maybe we can make small strides today in our smaller communities like this reading group?</p><p>Phil<br></p>