The Petrine reforms of this century allowed for more female participation in society, when before they were merely an afterthought as wives and mothers.
“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.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the present day territory of Russia was inhabited since prehistoric times: 1.5-million-year-old Oldowan flint tools were discovered in the Dagestan Akusha region of the north Caucasus, demonstrating the presence of early humans in Russia from a very early time.
The direct ancestors of Russians are the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples.
It also gave women greater power over the estates in that had been willed to them, or received in their wedding dowry.
In pre-Petrine centuries the Russian tsars had never been concerned with educating their people, neither the wealthy nor the serfs.
Women of lower classes had to live and work with their brothers, fathers, and husbands as well as manage all household matters along with them.
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.
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.
This law effectively ended the practice of excluding women from inheriting patrimonial estates.
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.
When these reforms did begin to change women’s lives legally, they also helped to expand their abilities socially.