On 15 May 2018, The Archive of Russian Academy of Sciences held the roundtable discussion called ‘Women’s Perspective on the Development of Russia’ as part of the distinctive exhibition, which opened with the support of Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). According to organisers, modern Russia’s gradual development in scientific sphere makes it relevant to speak on women’s role both as the guardians of Russian scientific heritage and independent natural scientists recognized by Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). 


Throughout his opening speech, Aleksander Tolstikov, acting Head of the Archive and RAS Corresponding Member, mentioned women’s increasing interest in science originating back in Age of Enlightenment, is still a touching topic for him, as distinct from tough discussions about men in research. Thus, plenary meeting reports concerned both thorny paths of women from XX century towards acquiring higher education and scientific activity, and humanitarian guidelines of Russia originally laid by women in the family. 


Mathematics, biology, pedology, physics, psychology, history, etc. are only a few examples of scientific spheres, to which women contributed greatly, both in peacetime and in times of war. All that contribution was useful to Russia, which shall not be reassessed. 


All the reports by members of RAS Archive concerned exhibition’s heroines. All those women contributed greatly to many fields of Russian science. Among them are Lina Stern, the member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Taisiya Efremova, wife and secretary of a prominent paleontologist and science fiction writer Ivan Efremov, Anna Shakhovskaya, secretary and associate to well-known Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky, Tatyana Asseeva, breeder, and mathematician and philosopher Sofia Yanovskaya. Stories of their lives and success became the subject of discussion of the participants of the roundtable discussion, video-linked to their colleagues from St. Petersburg. 


The Head of Museum-Exhibition Group of RAS Archive, PhD in Cultural Studies Irina Urmina supposes: “Women and men can provide science-related ideas on the same level. Unfortunately, Russia is a male-dominated country, we can do nothing about that. However, our women in politics, healthcare, education, etc. always manage to deal with that problem. Thus, Russia’s development is inseparable from their contribution”. 

Tina Stankevich, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov