Spartan Women and girls, like the men of Sparta, underwent rigorous training. Largely separated by gender from an early age, they were expected to raise strong sons fit to be taken for military training at a young age, and they were expected to make a home in austere conditions. While they were not trained for combat, they were expected to be strong just like the men.
According to Roman historian Plutarch, when a Spartan soldier went into battle his mother would hand him his shield and say "Come back with your shield or on it." She meant to come home victorious with it on his arm or be carried home dead on it. To drop the shield would entail fleeing the battle, something that no Spartan was ever expected to do.