The Dagenham Women
About the event
The film Made in Dagenham introduced many of us to the women machinists whose 1968 strike at Ford Dagenham led to widespread protest about the gender pay gap and ultimately to the Equal Pay Act 1970. The female factory workers' original demand was not for gender equality, but rather to re-grade their jobs from an unskilled B grade to a semi-skilled grade C. In their eyes they may have changed the law, but they had failed in their own demands. They had wanted their skill recognised and rewarded.
Their fight was to continue for another 17 years, led by a new generation of Dagenham women. Dora Challingsworth and Pam Brown were part of a seven-week strike in 1984 which stopped production at Dagenham and finally achieved the demands of their 1968 colleagues.
Dora and Pam will talk about the work and fight of Dagenham's machinists and how 17 years of struggle contributed to current employment law. The evening will also explore, through the expertise of Fawcett Society Chief Executive, Sam Smethers, how 45 years after the Act was first passed, inequalities still remain for women in the workplace. The event will be chaired by Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves MP.