Single women were singled out – Etiquette required that Sofia Kovalevskaya, who went on to become a celebrated mathematician, be married to attend a Russian university. (Image- public domain)
Where Girls Must Marry
In Russia, if a girl desires to study at either of the universities, etiquette requires that she should be married. Accordingly she goes through the civil form of marriage with one of the men students, whom she may never have seen before and perhaps, may never speak to again.
These marriages are perfectly legal, and if the contracting parties like each other, they are united for life, but otherwise the marriage is dissolved when their university course is finished and both are free to marry again. Sofia Kovalevskaya, the celebrated mathematician, went through the civil marriage ceremony with a student whom she then saw for the first time, but who eventually became her husband.— Home Notes, 1901
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia