In 1968, 187 women machinists in the Ford Dagenham factory went on strike in protest against sexual discrimination and the desire for equal pay as the men.
These women were working in substandard conditions (leaking ceilings, poor ventilation) without complaining but when their superiors classified them as “unskilled workers”, it set the women in motion to go on an immediate 24-hour strike and later, an indefinite strike when talks fell through between the union and management and they tried to brushed them aside. It became serious when Ford’s supply of finished seats (output of the female machinists) diminished and the men were left jobless, causing the factory to stop the production of cars.
While watching this, the feminist inside me was screaming! It felt really good to see Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) speak up and fight for their rights while the men go dumb. Another power female figure was Barbara Castle (Miranda Richardson), the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity then, who had to work with incompetent male subordinates and later promised to introduce legislation for equal pay among the sexes. Now, you’ll leave the cinema feeling really empowered.
Journalist 1: What if the minister says no deal?
Journalist 2: Yeah, how will you cope then?
Rita O’Grady: Cope? We’re women. Now don’t ask such stupid questions.