An inspiring story of struggle by women workers

November 4, 2010

FILM REVIEW: Made in Dagenham

In 1968 three struggles by working class women in Britain helped inspire the formation of the women’s liberation movement there: Hull fishermen’s wives fought for better safety on trawlers, despite being told by the bosses to keep quiet; London bus conductresses rebelled for the right to become drivers; and women machinists at the Ford motor company’s giant plant at Dagenham went on strike for equal pay.

The Ford women’s strike led to the National Joint Action Committee on Women’s Equal Rights, a union-based group focussed on equal pay and women’s rights at work.

Over four decades later, the Ford strike has been dramatised, and partly fictionalised, as a film: Made in Dagenham, directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls), produced by Steven Woolley (The Crying Game, Scandal, Interview with the Vampire) and  partner Elizabeth Karlsen (The Crying Game, Hollow Reed, Sounds like Teen Spirit), written by Billy Ivory, who wrote for TV series such as Minder and Common as Muck, and starring Sally Hawkins as strike leader Rita, Daniel Mays as her husband Eddie and Bob Hoskins as Albert, the shop steward for their area.  The theme song is sung by 60s British pop star Sandie Shaw, a former Fords Dagenham punch-card operator (albeit several years before the 1968 strike). Read the rest of this entry »


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