“Welcome to the Club”: Position of Women in Soviet Science in the 1920s

“Welcome to the Club”:
Position of Women in Soviet Science in the 1920s

Dolgova E.A.

Cand.Sci. (History), Associate Professor, Russian State Humanitarian University, Moscow, Russia. dolgova-evg@rambler.ru

Streltsova E.A.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. kstreltsova@hse.ru

ID of the Article:

This work was supported by Russian Science Foundation (RSF), No. 17-78-10202.

For citation:

Dolgova E.A., Streltsova E.A. “Welcome to the Club”: Position of Women in Soviet Science in the 1920s . Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 2. P. 97-107


The paper is devoted to the position of women in science in the early soviet period, when several reforms were made to promote gender equality in this sphere. It was the first time in the country, women got an institutionally guaranteed opportunity to be professional researchers or teachers in universities. Empirically, the paper is based on archived data and uses the lists of female «research workers» – residents of Moscow and Leningrad in the late 1920s – supplemented with the documentary materials on their social and demographic characteristics and positions in science and higher education. As a result of a statistical analysis of this information, the authors discuss the structure of the soviet female scientific (sub)community in the period which was critical for its development. They state that those days most women in science and higher education used to occupy relatively low positions – were employed as assistants or lecturers. The paper discusses several factors which could cause this tendency. Among them – the inertia of the scientific community, path-dependency and biased attitude of male researchers, but equally a lack of females’ self-motivation to build a professional academic career, the still existing negative influence of the education they had got in the previous period.

Soviet science; scientific community; women in science; gender equality


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