Monday, October 26, 2009

Transition of Russian noble women

The position of upper class women began to change rapidly during the reign of Peter the Great.

Peter was determined to make Russia a thoroughly European nation.

An important aspect of westernization in his mind was the creation of a social life in which women had a public and visible role as in the west.

He, therefore, abolished the seclusion of upper class women and ordered them to take part in social life at dinners and balls.

He also required that couples should consent to marriage rather than be coerced into unwelcome unions.

So that couples could get to know each other before the wedding he ordered a minimal betrothal period of six weeks.

Peter also reenforced the older law that allowed women the right to retain property that they brought into the marriage.

Although these laws applied to all women in Russia, enforcement of them was easier among the upper classes than among the lower.

Even upper class women, however, had little protection against a brutal husband.

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