Noblewomen, merchant class women, and peasant (serf) women each witnessed Petrine reforms differently.
For the lower classes it was not until the end of the eighteenth-century (during the time of Catherine the Great’s reign) that they began to see any changes at all.
Petersburg and then the Novodevichii Institute for the daughters of commoners.” In the eighteenth-century Petrine reforms and enlightenment ideas brought both welcome and unwelcome changes required of the Russian nobility and aristocratic families.
Daughters in well-to-do families were raised in the terem, which was usually a separate building connected to the house by an outside passageway.
“The change in women’s place in Russian society can be illustrated no better than by the fact that five women ruled the empire, in their own names, for a total of seventy years.” Arguably the most important legal change that affected women’s lives was the Law of Single Inheritance instituted by Peter the Great in 1714.
The law was supposed to help the tax revenue for Russia by banning the allowance of noble families to divide their land and wealth among multiple children.
Women in Russia are not a monolithic group, because the country itself is very diverse: there are almost 200 national/ethnic groups in Russia (77.7% being Russians - as of 2010), and although most of the population is (at least nominally) Christian Orthodox, other religions are present too, such as Islam (approximately 6% - see Islam in Russia).
Famous women in Russian history include Anna of Russia, Elizabeth of Russia, Catherine the Great, Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova.
Women of eighteenth-century Russia were luckier than their European counterparts in some ways; in others, the life of a Russian woman was more difficult.
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Women in Russian society have a rich and varied history during numerous regimes throughout the centuries.