The play concerns a group of women, the leader of which is Praxagora. She has decided that the women must convince the men to give them control of Athens, because they could rule it better than the men have been. The women, in the guise of men, sneak into the assembly and vote the measure, convincing some of the men to vote for it because it is the only thing they have not tried.
The women then institute a communist-like government in which the state feeds, houses, and generally takes care of every Athenian. They enforce an idea of equality by allowing each man to sleep with any woman, provided that he first sleeps with every woman in Athens who is uglier than the woman he wants.
Private property is abolished and all money and property are to go into a common fund. All expenses and purchases by each individual are to come out of the common fund. Any individual with personal property is considered to have stolen from the community.
In one scene, two men are talking. One of them is going along with the new government, giving his property to the women, and obeying their orders. The other does not wish to give up his property, but he is more than willing to take advantage of the free food.
The following scene has a pair of young lovers unable to make their tryst as a succession of older and more hideous women attempt to and eventually succeed in dragging the man off to make love to them first, as laid down by the new laws.
The final scene or epilogue has Praxagora's husband, Blepyrus, on his way to the communal feast, and inviting the audience to join him.