Born from the head of Zeus, the King of the Gods, fully grown and dressed head to toe in glistening armour, Athena was immediately recognisable as a woman of immense strength and power.
She was assigned the role of Goddess of War and Wisdom. While her brother Ares, the God of War, ruled his domain with a love of violence, Athena won her battles using wit and intelligence. She outsmarted her opponents by strategising her attacks to play to her strengths and her enemies' weaknesses. Throughout the stories of the Ancient Greeks she was an essential aide to many heroes who relied on her insight and guidance to complete their quests and return home in one piece.
Also the Goddess of Handicraft, Athena was a master artisan and was credited with the invention of many beautiful and functional creations from ornate embroidered robes to the war chariot. She perfectly embodies the union of opposing forces. Her rational and logical mind contrasts with the creative mind of a designer while her affinity for war opposes her peacetime pursuits of weaving and embroidery. She epitomises, both physically and metaphorically, the fusion of both beauty and function.
In an archaic society where women were expected to be wives and mothers and little else, Athena's reluctance to submit herself to the confines of marriage was unconventional and yet she expressed no interest in finding herself in the arms of a man. She represents the independent and self-sufficient woman able to clearly draw a distinction between her heart and her head.
In the modern age, Athena personifies the catalyst of empowerment and the rejection of traditional roles of femininity.