Russian Women's Studies: Essays on Sexism in Soviet Culture

By Tatyana Mamonova; Margaret Maxwell | Go to book overview

22
Solidarity Between American
and Soviet Feminists

The feminist movement started in Russia during the same period as in America, in the middle of the nineteenth century.In the United States, thanks to the diligent work and struggle of feminist activists, there now exists a body of research on the history and current status of women. But in the Soviet Union the names of prominent women have been forgotten, regardless of the fact that in their time they exerted significant influence upon the life of Russian society.

Tsebrikova, Trubnikova, Filosofova, Khvoshchinskaya, and others — who remembers them? Only a few specialists in the history of pre-revolutionary movements even know their names.These pioneering women organized the first university for women in Petersburg, published their own journals on education and child rearing, and participated in international congresses of feminists in Europe, which were also attended by American women. 1 In Geneva, in 1869 Trubnikova met with Josephine Butler, and together they discussed the possibilities for enlarging the international women's community by means of an international feminist press.The importance of Filosofova's work was recognized by the International Council of Women when they appointed her Honorary Vice President around the turn of the century, and asked her to form a National Council of Women in Russia.

In those days women understood the necessity for association, for the exchange of ideas and the mutual support people striving toward a common goal are entitled to. They were convinced that in order to raise the social status of women, and to enable them to realize their scientific and professional aims, they must create a sounding board that would, at last, provide a free and broadly based forum for the development and comparison of various plans of action and experiences of feminists in different countries.

In one of the many newspaper and magazine articles written about the Almanak, Zhenschchina i Rossiya ( Woman and Russia), * the contemporary

____________________
*
The title of the book, consisting of articles from the Almanac, published by Beacon Press in 1984, is Women and Russia.

-161-

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