Women's Movement in Russia

Primary source materials documenting women's activism and daily life
Cover of the women's weekly Zhenskoe Dielo, January 17, 1910 issue

Russia's women's movement originated in the 19th century and gained force in the early 1900s, spearheaded by female educators, doctors, and activists. They championed educational, legal, and economic equality and sought to improve daily life for working-class women.

Though disbanded by the Bolsheviks after the October 1917 Revolution, the movement was a powerful social and political force during the tsarist era. One testament to its influence was the March 1917 law, passed by the Provisional Government, that made Russia the second nation in the world to grant women the vote.

The Ruthchild collection brings together over 33,000 pages of published materials documenting this women's rights movement. Gathered by gender scholar Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild over decades of research, these microfilm copies of holdings from 23 archival institutions in Russia and the West have now been digitized and are available online.

Included are periodicals, selected annual reports from women’s political, charitable, and social organizations, proceedings from three All-Russian Congresses on issues relating to women held between 1908-1915, and 29 monographs (ranging in size from short polemical pamphlets to large essay collections) from the first three decades of the 20th century. 

Collection highlights:


  • Zhenskii vestnik (Women’s Herald), 1904-1917
  • Pervyi zhenskii kalendar’ (The First Women’s Calendar), 1899-1915

Organizational reports:

  • The League for Women’s Equal Rights (Vserossiiskaia liga ravnopraviia zhenshchin)
  • The Women’s Mutual Aid Society (Russkoe zhenskoe vzaimno-blagotvoritel’noe obshchestvo)

Congress proceedings:

  • The All-Russian Women’s Congress (1908)
  • The All-Russian Congress on Women’s Education (1914)

Monographs by prominent Russian feminists and activists, including:

  • Mariia Pokrovskaia
  • Alexandra Kollontai
  • Praskoviia Arian
  • Anna Kal’manovich

Accessing These Materials

For more details about the collection, see the HOLLIS record.

The online archival finding aid allows you to browse the collection and view all digital content.

View HOLLIS records for every item in the collection.