[[File: Spartan helmet 2 British Museum.jpg |270px|thumb|left| Spartan helmet]]
Females played a crucial role in the enforcement of Spartan values, especially the family members of warriors. The female relatives of fallen soldiers celebrated the death of those who died in battle and lamented the survival of those adjudged to be cowards. The mothers of warriors had to ensure that their sons fought and died like their forefathers. Reputedly, a Spartan mother told her son ‘to come back with his shield or on it.’ <ref>Talbot, p 118</ref> In other words, come back a hero or come back dead. Women had a great deal of social authority in the city-state, unlike other parts of Greece. It was widely believed in the Greek world that women ‘ruled’ the men in the city-state. When a queen was asked why Spartan women were the only in Greece able to dominate men, she replied, ‘"because we are also the only ones who give birth to men." <ref> Plutarch, Moralia 225A and 240E </ref>
==Spartan women and land ownership====
Females in the city-state, because their husbands lived in the barracks or were often on a campaign, ran the household (Oikos). They, therefore, managed not only houses but also estates and oversaw a large number of slaves. Therefore, much of the economy was run by women, which was unthinkable in Athens and other Greek city-states. This gave them real power and influence. Critically, unlike in other city-states, they could also inherit land and wealth and married, ora male authority figure did not control widowed women. As men usually died earlier than women, this meant that many widows amassed considerable fortunes.<ref>, Pomeroy, p. 167</ref>
Aristotle claimed that many women in Lacedaemon were wealthy and lived luxurious lives, despite the traditional austerity of Spartan society. Females became wealthy, but they also lent money, and many citizens became indebted to them.<ref> Aristotle, Politics, 1269 </ref> Therefore, a class of Spartan women became extremely wealthy, which led to growing inequality in the citizen body. According to Aristotle, this undermined the city-state. As women abandoned motherhood to pursue wealth and luxury, the birth rate fell.<ref> Aristotle, Politics, 1269 </ref> This led to a decline in the number of Spartan citizens and a reduction in their army size, which led to defeats such as Leuctra. However, it should be noted that Aristotle, like many of his contemporaries, was influenced by a misogynistic culture and distrusted any independent or strong women.
Sparta was a different society, one that developed a socio-economic and political system focused solely on military success. This emphasis on the army meant that a premium was placed on the number of warriors available. As a result, in that society, despite its innate conservatism, women had more rights as they were the mothers of warriors. The role of women as mothers of Spartan citizens made them invaluable, and as a result, they had a great many more opportunities than Greek women elsewhere. For example, they received some education.