Women’s Demonstration for Bread and Peace, Petrograd, Russia, March 8, 1917
On March 8, 1917 (Feb 23 under the old Julian calendar then in use in pre-revolutionary Russia), the woman textile workers of Petrograd began a citywide strike that demanded an end to World War I, an end to the rampant food shortages then plaguing the workers and peasants of Russia as a result of the war, overthrow of the Tsar and an end to Tsarism. Men joined in and the strike spread throughout the country, Seven days later, the Tsar abdicated, ending the Russian Empire and beginning the Russian Revolution.
“23 February (8th March) was International Woman’s Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in the morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.“ Leon Trotsky, “History of the Russian Revolution” 1932