One of the most controversial topics in mid-nineteenth-century Russia was women’s right to higher education. Neither within the government nor within the educational institutions themselves was there a consensus on whether women should be allowed into universities.
In 1863, when a new statute governing universities was being drafted, some institutions inquired whether it might be possible to allow women into lecture halls to audit courses.
Moscow and Tartu Universities were categorically opposed to this idea; Petersburg and Kazan were for it; and the administrators of Kharkov and Kiev Universities wanted to grant women the same rights and status as the male students. Kharkov was the most progressive, advocating making their female graduates eligible for appointment to government posts.
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