Why women must guard and rule in Plato's kallipolis

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):527–548 (2006)
Abstract
Plato's discussion of women in the Republic is problematic. For one, arguments in Book V which purport to establish that women should guard and rule alongside men do not deliver the advertised conclusion. In addition, Plato asserts that women are "weaker in all pursuits" than men. Given this assumption, having women guard and rule seems inimical to the health, security, and goodness of the kallipolis. I argue that we best understand the inclusion of women by seeing how women's inclusion contributes to the civic unity of the kallipolis. I further argue that Plato's Laws reveals that (a) women will become more virtuous by doing similar jobs to men; and (b) women will be given lesser responsibilities than men in any polis approximating justice.
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