05/02/2011 by Sarah Ritchie
Did you see the recently released movie Made in Dagenham? Not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a true story of how one small, determined, group of British women changed the Western world as we know it today.
The year was 1968; the place was Dagenham – a working-class suburb of Greater London. The local Ford Dagenham car plant was a busy manufacturing plant employing a small number of women as machinists of the car upholstery. Their wages were significantly less than the men who worked in the same factory producing work of a similar skill level.
In agreement, and as one unit, the women went on strike, citing sexual discrimination and seeking pay parity.
To cut a longish story short…in spite of the legal threats, pay loss, public ridicule and untold personal stress and sacrifice, the women were victorious.
Not only did their determination – and standing up for what they belived in – change their own situation, without realising it they sparked a flame which swept the globe.
Today, 40 years later, we can attribute our modern day concept of pay equity to a group of unassuming women in Dagenham, England.
You might not be ‘destined for greatness”‘ (in the Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela sense of the word), but you CAN be a change-agent in your own home/school/workplace/community. Still don’t think so? Just watch Made in Dagenham…I bet the women at the Ford Dagenham plant wouldn’t have thought so either!