In a way Athena was Zeus’ answer to the birth of Hephaestos. He lusted after the Titaness ‘Metis’ (wisdom), but she tried to escape him. Metis transformed into plants and animals, and when she finally tried to hide as a fly Zeus devoured her - and became ‘pregnant’ with Athena.
Terrible headaches tormented him, till Hephaestos split his head with an axe - and Athena sprang out in full armour, with her spear and her shield. She is one of the virgin goddesses of the pantheon and protector of the heros (like Ulysses, Perseus and Diomedes).
Athena, the patroness of Athens, became the most worshiped goddess in ancient greece, even more celebrated than Zeus himself. Read more about her (only german so far - sorry).