A Look Inside the American, British, and Russian Women's Suffrage Movements

In Russia, two years after the October Bolshevik Revolution when Vladimir Lenin came to power, women’s equality was theoretically recognized and women’s suffrage was granted. Lenin wrote that “to effect [woman’s] emancipation and make her the equal of man, it is necessary to be socialized and for women to participate in common productive labor.”

Suffrage, however, really meant nothing because of the Communist Party’s monopoly of power. Independent feminist organizations and journals were shut down. Despite the prevailing Soviet ideology of gender equality and the fact that many women had jobs and earned advanced degrees, they did not participate in political roles.

Hendrick Smith, the former Russian correspondent for the New York Times, noted that the emancipation of women had led to their exploitation. He recounts “Under capitalism, women are not liberated because they have no opportunity to work. They have to stay at home, go shopping, do the cooking, keep house and take care of the children. But under socialism, women are liberated. They have the opportunity to work all day and then go home, go shopping, do the cooking, keep house and take care of the children”

A stamp depicting the iconic Soviet statue that symbolized the union of a male worker and a kolkhoz woman, which represented the ideal of equality under Communism. Wikipedia
April 1 “is a notable day for all the women and for those who stand together with them in the struggle for their rights,” a local newspaper wrote about the march. In July, the Women’s right to vote and run for office was ratified. RT
Banner reading ‘If a woman is a slave, there is no freedom.’ After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Provisional Government issued a declaration proclaiming ‘universal suffrage,’ excluding women. RT
A banner reading ‘Voting Rights for Women.’ The crowd marched over a mile to the State Duma, where the revolutionary authorities were meeting. RT
Building on the momentum by the women’s rally which ignited the February Revolution, tens of thousands of Russian women marched down central Petrograd on April 1, 1917, demanding voter equality. RT
“We do not need any more well-wishing promises, enough of that!” Shishkina-Iavein said in the final speech in front of the Tauride Palace. “We need an official and clear response… We shall not leave here until we get that response.” RT