Teaching Women’s World History
Through the Web

Topic #7: Revolutions

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Many curricululm standards require that students should gain an understanding of the ways in which political revolutions forwarded cultural and economic change. The following links highlight the participation of some key revolutions. Find individual women and those engaged in collective action from the women in French, Russian, Mexican, and Chinese Revolutions.

The French Revolution

1)  Women and the French Revolution  One page overview touching on key events.  

2)  "Petition of Women of the Third Estate to the King" (1 January 1789)  Primary source Petition to the King demonstrating women’s concerns and requests to be heard. Good for discussions of class differences and gendered aspects of their views.

3)  Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité: The French Revolution  Image of women on 1789 march to Versailles with brief description of the event.

4)  Olympe de Gouges (1745 - 1793)  Background on this forceful advocate of the rights of French women during the Revolution.

5)  Declaration of the Rights of Women  Olympe de Gouge’s 1791 response to the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.”

6)  “The Wife is Obliged.” The French Civil Code (Napoleonic Code) 1800-1820  Discussion of setback to revolutionary ideas of female equality enshrined in this influential code.


The Mexican Revolution

The history of the “soldaderas” was told mainly through the artists who painted, wrote, or sang about them.

7)  Women and the Mexican Revolution. Soldaders  Information on the roles of Mexican and American women during the revolution. Paintings, photos, essays and review of the play “Gingo” by Sophie Treadwell.

8)  From Soldaders to Comandantas  Paper outlining the major roles played by women in the Mexican Revolution and in the Zapatista rebellion.


The Russian Revolution

9)  Women in Revolution  Large collection of photos and posters featuring women. Mostly used as propaganda, they illustrate the extent of their participation.

10)  Alexandra Kollontai Archives  Primary source information about this influential woman. Biography, images, selected writings, speeches, audio recording of her vioce speaking “To the Workers.”

11)  Soviet Women Under Stalin  Primary sources and teaching materials: magazine articles, propagada drawings, charts, employment, lesson plans.

12)  Rosa Luxemburg, “The Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social Democracy.”   Although non-Russian, Luxemburg was an influential revolutionary figure.  This pamphlet, illegally distributed in Grmany, was written while she was in prison in 1915.


The Chinese Revolution

Women were recruited to forward the goals of the Communist Party. A major outcome was the new marriage laws, and, later, one-child policies.

13)  Women and Confucianism  Lesson using NeoConfucianism Quotes. One revolutionary aim was to liberate women from Confucian teachings. As scholar Xiao Ma has said: "Women always have been fighting for a way out of the Confucian shadows."

14)  “Purchase Marriage is Not Allowed,” Li Kuei-ying, (1960)  Esssay, posters and discussion activities about the Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China.

15)  Women in the Chinese Revolution. Francis Conway.   Revolutionary view detailing multiple aspects of women’s changed status.

16)  Keys to Women’s Liberation in Communist China: An Historical Overview by Jinghao Zhou.   Opposing view to Conway’s article questioning the ability of women’s libertion to be achieved under the Communist system.