(1917)

Though Phoebe Chapple was recognised as a skilled doctor, the Australian government’s policies precluded her from military service. Undaunted, the Adelaide-born Chapple travelled to Britain in 1917 and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, becoming one of the first two woman doctors sent to France. During a bombing raid near Abbeville in May 1918, her care for those wounded around her, regardless of personal danger, led to her being awarded the Military Medal – the first woman doctor ever to receive this decoration for bravery.

(Australian War Memorial)

4

The women’s protest that sparked the Russian Revolution

The first day of the Russian Revolution – 8 March (23 February in the old Russian calendar) – was International Women’s Day, an important day in the socialist calendar. By midday of that day in 1917 there were tens of thousands of mainly women congregating on the Nevsky Prospekt, the principal avenue in the centre of the Russian capital, Petrograd, and banners started to appear.

 The slogans on the banners were patriotic but also made forceful demands for change: “Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland,” read one; another said: “Supplement the ration of soldiers’ families, defenders of freedom and the people’s peace.” [x]