Women in Russian History

Published 23 Jun 2017

Natalia Pushkareva’s book` women in Russian History: from the Tenth to the Twentieth Century’ entails a clear and extensive scrutiny at the series of events involving women that unfolded in the period between the two centuries. This chronological account looks at the diversified average and extraordinary history of women in Russia. The writer dwells on topics touching diplomatic activities, poor and unmarried women in Russian villages, dental problems and their rights own property.

Pushkareva uniqueness has seen her highlight women’s private lives. A woman in Russian history defines their accomplishments family life, everyday tasks, routines and exploitation. It also reveals that the ideal perception widely spread over the country about women is not completely the reality. The four chapter write covers women in politics, academics, culture and revolutionary groups showing the changes experienced in these fields respectively. Although it’s all about women, nobility and the peasant population takes the highest percentage in terms of coverage. Further attention on merchants and urban employees is emphasized looking at their struggles steps and goals achieved towards good living standards. Workers in Russia have been facing problems in working conditions and pay rates; women especially have a tendency of exploitation which seems contrary to the insights provided by law.

A woman’s life is hence not as easy as it seems in Russia because, they engage in economical as well as family orientated activities; with others acting as sole bread winners in some family settings. Clerics in Russia have for a long time side lined women and their rights, viewing them as inferior; this in turn has caused rifts in their social interaction and relationships. A majority as a result dislike or rather despises them and their family members; especially wives and daughters no wonder Natalia too did not focus on the latter. Since earlier times, women in Russia rights to education were not fully accomplished, so, a large number of them do not possess even basic knowledge leading to high levels of illiteracy in women population. It is also evident that only wealthy families had access to these institutions and as a result peasants had little or nothing to do about it. Due to this reason surprisingly, daughters borne of Russian merchants are viewed as unintelligent, idlers and educationally uninterested. The reason is not unhappiness with schooling or the strictness, personal choice or parental decision, NO; it’s because, during the earlier centuries, Russian universities banned female examiners and courses for the women fraternity. With activism for reforms in the sector, changes later on saw their consideration. The pursuits therefore, clear any doubt on female interest in education.

Natalia’s work caters for the criticism and stereotyping on Russian women especially by Western peoples. This lot seems to believe that women in the region are in a piteous position basing reasons on lack of independence and self-reliance. Critics on Russian women feel that little has been done on women, in terms of rights and health but Pushkareva has countered these opinions candidly and completely. In turn she acknowledges the fact that although women have dental problems, only the elderly suffer most consequences due to unawareness during their times on how to handle such cases. Russia women today are conversant with every aspect of dental health with their enrollment in medical courses increasing. It is also evident that women in Russia were empowered in their societies, although changes are taking a new shape, from the period of Kievan Rus to the scrambling of the Soviet Union: as key role players than they have ever been in the conventional opinions or allocated for in the constitution. Women as mothers and family care-takers continue to triumph in other fields that men have excelled even after their denial on equality.

Russian politics are seeing women involvement actively, although there stand a split on media coverage, good number hit headlines every other day. Unfortunately, success has not been achieved in getting rid of false beliefs and the bleak lifestyles about Russian women. Many captivating aspects on life struggles by these women have been witnessed; from single-mother family settings, academic Excellency to political association. Russian religious institutions especially the Orthodox Church, in conjunction with the peasant culture and traditions; have increased vigilance in their efforts that try to hamper or rather seem limiting women involvement in the community.

The book has a context of achievements in ordinary and widespread goals and in particular the rights to acquire and own property and in judicial policies. Although loopholes in several issues appear mostly in the assessment of Russian women in the twentieth century, considerable work is realizable in the depiction and execution of pre-Moscovite period of the Russian history. Parental responsibility by women is quite openly expressed; affectionate is the terminology used in its definition. Similarly, the interdependence and mutuality tabled in most privately owned publications in real sense minimally relates or even tries to confirm the warnings on women demeanor, the strategies and the recommendation for their willingness to obey their spouses. A reason given by critiques, for most women unluckiness to have marriage proposals: This in the wake of events, a noticeable population still unwed or single. Majority believe and accord Natalia’s description on women in Russia, thumbs up. Indeed, it’s a comprehensive account of the way things have been and are for the female population in Russia.


  • Natalia Pushkareva. Women in Russian History: From the Tenth to the Twentieth Century: M.E. Sharpe, 1997.
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