In a frequently quoted incident, the wife of King Leonidas was asked why Spartan women were the only women in Greece who "ruled" their husbands. Gorgo replied, "Because we are the only women who give birth to the men."
I am not a Historian, and cannot verify the accuracy of this quote outside of Google Scholar, however, I love what it represents. During this period of time, although women were not seen as equals they were still valued, and not just for their beauty, but for their education, power, and strength.
The inhabitants of the Greek city-state of Sparta led a way of life that was strikingly different from that of the other classical Greek cities. While the job of a Spartan man was to become a soldier, the job of a woman was to produce good soldiers. To that end, the semi legendary founder of Sparta's constitution, Lycurgus of Sparta, reputedly broke with traditional Greek practice. He said that for women to bear strong children, they should avoid the secluded life of most Greek women, who stayed inside and wove wool. Women were to be educated and engage in vigorous athletic raining just as men did, and those strong women would then rear strong children. Women raced, wrestled and threw the discus and javelin.
Sparta offered opportunities for women that were unheard of in the rest of the ancient Greek world. Women were educated, physically fit and self-reliant. Their experiences offer rare examples of voices of independent women of the ancient Greek world.