Women and Revolution

25 Oct 2017–1 Jun 2018All exhibitions

The exhibition suggests another angle to look at the Revolution 1917-1922: through the prism of women's movement and through images of women. The exhibition reflects on the practice of addressing the «women's problem» at the turn of the centuries – chronologically it embraces the first quarter of the 20th century. Women of various classes and of different social and political views are in the focus here: worker and aristocrat, student and nurse, Social revolutionary and Bolshevik, countess and Women shock battalion’s commander. Museum artefacts represent important events in the life of every one of them in the pre-revolutionary time and reflect on women’s roles during the Revolution 1917.

Our visitors will see what ways of fighting against women’s inequality in both society and family were offered by feminists and revolutionaries in the early 20th century.

Problems of women’s access to education and work placement were constantly resolving thanks to active feminists’ position and the way they pressurized the authorities of the Russian Empire. During the first 10 years of the 20th century Russia took the leading position in Europe in both number of women with higher education and number of female doctors. Museum and archival materials reveal such prominent names in the women’s movement as A.N. Shabanova, P.N. Shishkina-Yavein, countess S.V. Panina, A.V. Tyrkova. All of them contributed significantly to the transformation of Russian society.   

A different, radical approach was shown by women, who took part in the Revolution. They associated the change in hard “women’s destiny” with a radical shift in society only. The exhibition represents views and life paths of such revolutionaries as E.K. Breshko-Breshkovskaya, V.N. Figner, M,A, Spiridonova, N.K. Krupskaya, A.M. Kollontai, K.N. Samoilova.

A separate section of the display reflects on the women’s fight for civil and political rights and strengthening of the women’s public role during the First World War. The year of the Revolution 1917 was marked by a number of bright and charismatic women emerging on political scene. Not only they tried to define the direction of the country’s further development, but they tended to transform the traditional system of relationships between men and women. During the outbreak of the revolution, in February, 1917, it was women, who pioneered in Petrograd uprising, which then led to the fall of the monarchy; and they also achieved significant results in changing their social status. “Female citizens of the free Russia” were among the first women in the world to get the right to vote. Therefore, we paid special attention to women and women organisations, which participated in local and All-Russian Constituent Assembly elections. The exhibition also represents the Provisional government’s course on the expansion of civil and social rights of women that led to a significant change in their social status.

In 1917 the Bolsheviks were actively fighting against the “bourgeois” women organisations in order to attract masses of female workers to their side. The exhibition demonstrates particular examples of Bolshevik propaganda among proletarian women. Those examples addressed problems of war and exploitation. October revolution became a cornerstone not only in the country’s history, but in the “women’s problem” history. Class approach and Bolsheviks’ interests dominated in the attempts of resolving this problem.

The exhibition illustrates first events, dedicated to the “women’s problem” led by Soviet government and to the declaration on women’s role and place in communist society. By giving social and political rights to the working women only, the Soviet state did not create equal conditions for all women, but exposed the worker ones to intensive workload both at work and at home. Bolsheviks' radical measures concerning marriage and family planning (facilitation of the divorce procedures and abortion rights) had ambiguous consequences for the institution of the family. You will see Soviet decrees on women's labour protection and motherhood, which though had mostly proclaimatory nature as millions of women were left unemployed and starved during the Civil war. The exhibition ends with a section dedicated to the proletarian women's movement in the first decade of the Soviets.

Personal documents, leaflets, photographs, books and brochures, posters, women's and satirical magazines, women's accessories and clothes are found on display. These objects demonstrate how women's looks changed, they illustrate the ways of women's self-actualisation and socialisation in changing society and reveal the degree of decay in traditional gender relations in the era of radical transformations.


Публикация от: 21.06.2017 16:01:11