Russia: The Great War and Women’s Political Rights

  • Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)


Ruthchild explores the role of war in the Russian suffrage victory, arguing that hastening the collapse of the Russian empire was key to winning women the right to vote. However, war and revolution alone did not bring about women’s suffrage. Women were active on the streets, but after the overthrow of the Tsarist regime, women were overlooked initially—until women joined together from the educated and working classes to demonstrate for their own political rights. Once suffrage became law in 1917, Russian women in urban and rural areas voted in large numbers in local elections, indicating that voting was an issue of importance to the female masses as well as the elites.


  1. Bobroff-Hajal, Anne. 1994. Working Women in Russia Under the Hunger Tsars. Sandy, UT: Carlson Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Chatterjee, Choi. 2002. Celebrating Women: Gender, Festival Culture, and Bolshevik Ideology, 1910–1939. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  3. Dubois, Ellen Carol. 1994. Woman Suffrage Around the World: Three Phases of Suffragist Internationalism. In Suffrage and Beyond, ed. Caroline Daly and Melanie Nolan, 252–274. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Edmondson, Linda. 1984. Feminism in Russia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Edmondson, Linda. 2001. Women’s Rights, Gender and Citizenship in Tsarist Russia, 1860–1920: The Question of Difference. In Women’s Rights and Human Rights, ed. Patricia Grimstad, Katie Holmes, and Marilyn Lake, 153–167. Hampshire: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferro, Marc. 1972. The Russian Revolution of February 1917, trans. J.L. Richards. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  7. Gurevich, Liubov. 1917. Pochemu nuzhno dat’ zhenshchinam takiia zhe prava, kak muzhchinam. Petrograd: Izd. Znanie-Sila.Google Scholar
  8. Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. 1981. The February Revolution: Petrograd, 1917. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  9. McDermid, Jane, and Anna Hillyar. 1999. Midwives of the Revolution: Female Bolsheviks and Women Workers in 1917. Athens: Ohio University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Melançon, Michael. 1988. Who Wrote What and When? Proclamations of the February Revolution in Petrograd, 23 February–1 March 1917. Soviet Studies 40: 479–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Norton, Barbara. 1992. Laying the Foundations of Democracy in Russia. In Women and Society in Russia and the Soviet Union, 101–123. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Protasov, L.G. 1997. Vserossiiskoe uchreditel’noe sobranie: Istoriia rozhdeniia i gibeli. Moscow: ROSSPEN.Google Scholar
  13. Protasov, L.G. 2001. Zhenshchina v Vserossiiskoe Uchreditel’noe Sobranie. In Ot muzhskikh i zhenskikh k gendernym issledovaniiam, ed. Pavel P. Shcherbinin, 46–54. Tambov: Tambov State University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Rabinowitch, Alexander. 1968. Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Radkey, Oliver. 1989. Russia Goes to the Polls: The Election to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, 1917. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Ramirez, Francisco O., Suzanne Shanahan, and Yasemin Soysal. 1997. The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-National Acquisition of Women’s Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990. American Sociological Review 62 (5): 735–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ross, Dale. 1974. The Role of the Women of Petrograd in War, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution, 1914–1921. PhD dissertation, Rutgers University.Google Scholar
  18. Ruthchild, Rochelle Goldberg. 2010. Equality and Revolution: Women’s Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905–1917. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ruthchild, Rochelle Goldberg. 2012. From West to East: International Women’s Day, the First Decade. Aspasia 6: 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Smith, Stephen Anthony. 1985. Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories, 1917–1918. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Spirin, L.M. 1987. Rossiia 1917 god: Iz istorii bor’by politicheskikh partii. Moscow: Mysl’.Google Scholar
  22. Stites, Richard. 1978. The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860–1930. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Stockdale, Melissa K. 2004. My Death for the Motherland Is Happiness: Women, Patriotism, and Soldiering in Russia’s Great War, 1914–1917. The American Historical Review 109 (1): 78–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stoff, Laurie S. 2006. They Fought for the Motherland: Russia’s Women Soldiers in World War I and the Revolution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  25. Trotsky, Leon. 1959. The Russian Revolution, trans. Max Eastman and ed. F.W. Dupee. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  26. Viola, Lynne. 1992. Bab’i Bunty and Peasant Women’s Protest During Collectivization. In Russian Peasant Women, ed. Beatrice Farnsworth and Lynne Viola, 189–205. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Vishniak, Mark. 1932. Vserossiiskoe uchreditel’noe sobranie. Paris: Izd. Sovremennyiia zapiski.Google Scholar
  28. Yukina, Irina, and E. Guseva. 2004. Zhenskii Peterburg: Opyt istoriko-kraevedcheskogo putevoditelia. St. Petersburg: Aleteia.Google Scholar
  29. Zakuta, Olga. 1917. Kak v revoliutsionnoe vremia vserossiiskaia liga ravnopraviia zhenshchin dobilas’ izbiratel’nykh prav dlia russkikh zhenshchin. Petrograd: Tipografiia A.G. Syrkina.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
    • 1
  1. 1.Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian StudiesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations