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Tomsk Technological Institute (TTI) was opened in 1900, but only for male students. However, in 1901 the institute council sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Education, demanding to provide female students with access to lectures. This initiative was widely supported by both academic and city communities. The organizers were professor wives Maria Shiptsina and Olga Zubasheva. Being a part of the Institute academic community they understood the importance of higher education for women. It is worth mentioning, that the council decided to accept noncredit female students even without the ministry permission.      

Among the first female students, there was Izabell Kartashova, the wife of the TTI rector. When Izabell began her study at the institute, she had two babies and shortly after that, she gave birth to the third one. However, domestic chores did not stop her from finish her education. She has a pure desire for knowledge and a qualified education. It should be noted, that in that time, professor and researcher wives strived to actively participate in academic life. For example, Anna Vanyukov was a muse and faithful assistant of the first graduate of the Chemical Department - Vladimir Vanyukov. Vladimir and Anna got married in 1906 when he graduated from the institute as an engineer. Right after graduation, he applied to the postgraduate program of the Department of Metallurgy and in 1909 he successfully presented his thesis. That year he began to deliver lectures at the Division of Chemistry. The couple worked together in laboratories of Tomsk Technological Institute, conducting experiments and research projects. It was pure love for science. 

Another example is Genia Orman. She was the wife of Professor Nikolay Kurin, together with whom she used to deliver lectures at the Division of Chemistry and later at Chemical Engineering Faculty. Together they trained many highly qualified researchers and specialists.

Izabell Kartashova

In 1906, the TTI council agreed to accept 12 girls, as noncredit students. Five of them began to study at the Engineering Division.

Later, the number of accepted female students considerably fell. In 1908 there were nine, 1909 - only one, 1910-1915 - three. The reason was the decision of the Ministry of Education to close the courses for female students. They had to fight for their right to continue education and the institute provided all possible assistance. Three of them succeeded to uphold this right.

Unfortunately, these female students were not allowed to receive an official diploma. However, after a while, one developed special rules and conditions for female students, necessary to obtain a degree. It allowed to receive advanced knowledge and skills, but they received engineer diplomas only after 1917.

After the February Revolution of the 1917th, the situation in the country dramatically changed. Higher education for women and emancipation, in general, became one of the main issues in the new Russia.

The admission requirements were changed: there were no restrictions on nationality, religion, gender, and abolished certificate of political reliability. For the first time, Tomsk Technological Institute began to accept girls, finished an 8-9-year gymnasium. By the Fall of 1917, there were 50 girls studied at TTI. Soon after they became the first female graduates of engineering programs.

For the first years, women tended to choose more creative faculties and programs, e.g. Faculty of Chemistry and Engineering and Construction Faculty. Despite the revolutions, the institute maintained a high quality of education. For example, it trained city engineers by the old pre-revolutionary educational programs, including many subjects, dedicated to the general engineering and academic development, such as the construction of railways and highways, tunnels, hydraulic foundations, and others. This solid academic and engineering basis allowed them to become highly qualified specialists. There was even an optional course in shipbuilding.

This broad and advanced (for this time) knowledge allowed Antonina Pirozhkova worked at the Kuznetskstroi (large industrial project) design bureau. After moving to Moscow she began to work in the MetroProject, an institute responsible for designing and engineering consulting of metro construction. This institute was founded in 1933 and in 1934, she became its director. She was one of the pioneers in designing the Moscow metro, in particular, she designed Mayakovskaya, Paveletskaya, Arbat, Kievskaya, and Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro stations.

During the Second World War, the number of women dramatically increased and they were half of the total number of students and studied at all faculties.  One of the alumni was Anastasia Stebleva, who graduated in 1948. She was a renown specialist and discovered a large number of unique deposits: gold-antimony ores, titanium magnesite ones, magnesite, and others. She went all way from a geologist to the head of the geological party. By the 1960s, the total number of students considerably increased and was 12 times higher than in 1945. The share of female students was 20% and this trend persisted. It is worth mentioning, that girls study at all faculties and programs.

Antonina Pirozhkova

There are female graduates, who went into politics and along with men are engaged in issues of social and economic development of the Tomsk region and its territories. 

Tomsk Polytechnic University always stands for equal access to education for all, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, and others. For more than 100 years, there is a long list of outstanding women, the University is proud of. 

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