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Made in Dagenham: Equal pay for women - film review

Updated on June 10, 2015
Made in Dagenham
Made in Dagenham | Source

Equal pay for women. Is that really a lot to ask?

The girls who worked at Ford Motor Company's plant in Dagenham (UK) didn't think so. This is an absolute gem of a film and based on real life events.

Set in the 1960s

These events took place in 1968 so as bonus, we get the added advantage of wonderful sixties cars, clothing and hairstyles and even a soundtrack of brilliant music from the day, mostly from British bands and singers.

An historical moment for women

The machinists at the factory without doubt struck a blow on behalf of all British women when they embarked on this strike. In fact, two years later the government of the day developed the Equal Pay Act of 1970.

Cast and crew gems

Watch out for:

  • Miranda Richardson. I've admired her acting since the days of Blackadder and here she plays the politician Barbara Castle
  • The ringleader of the strikers is played by another favourite - Sally Hawkins, the star of the wonderful Fingersmith
  • Bob Hoskins - without doubt one of Britain's favourite actors
  • Directed by NIgel Cole who also gave us the fabulous Calendar Girls

You'll also see John Sessions, Geraldine James and Jaime Winstone (yes, she is Ray Winstone's daughter).

LInks to the films mentioned above:

See Miranda Richardson in Blackadder • Sally Hawkins in FingersmithCalendar Girls

See the videos below of Made in Dagenham

These will give you a flavour of the film.

It also shows a slice of life from the 1960s.

I particularly like Barbara Castle who was a female government minister at the time. Even though she held a parliamentary position, she too felt she was seen as a second-class citizen because she was female.

Something I particularly like in the clip above is that there is a fleeting glimpse of the statue of Boudica. She was adopted as a symbol of the suffragists and suffragettes when they were campaigning for votes for women just after the First World War. A nice touch.

As you'll see in the clip below, the women were angry that they were classed as unskilled workers. Rita, played by the fabulous Sally Hawkins is not a belligerent or political woman. But she is determined to have her say.

That's the wonderful thing about the female workers of the Ford plant at Dagenham. They weren't especially intelligent women. They weren't politically inclined. They had no experience in the ways of big business. They had no training in political science or public speaking.

They simply knew what was right and what was fair.

As a 'fiery redhead' myself,I love the clip below. There have been other films and television shows that have demonstrated (with humour or otherwise) that members of parliament are often led by their advisors.

Here, the advisors of MP Barbara Castle, played wonderfully by Miranda Richardson, loses patience with what I shall refer to as her 'so-called advisors'.

It demonstrates that even government ministers, if female,were at the mercy of men. At least, they were. Barbara Castle, in the scene below,changes all that.

Ford Motor Company: The First 100 Years
Ford Motor Company: The First 100 Years

It's interesting that Ford Motor Company was seen as being in the forefront of change and development in its early years and yet showed a lack of enlightenment when it came to equal pay for women.


Although I was alive when these events took place, I was too young to be paying attention to what went on in the news.

Girls on my generation were lucky because of women like the ones portrayed in this film.

By the time we were working,or even earlier when we were making career choices, the battles had already been won for us.

For girls of my age, there was no such thing as a feeling of women being 'second class citizens'. That no longer applied in the UK. We knew that whatever career choices we wanted to make, there was no such thing as a 'male dominated industry'.

We were the lucky ones because by the time we were working, the groundwork was done and the foundations were laid down by women like those portrayed in Made in Dagenham.

We never knew what it was like to live in a society when men considered themselves superior and women had to live by their rules.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Heidi Vincent: Thank you! They certainly were very brave for their day.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: It's excellent. Very funny in places but there are some parts that bring a lump to the throat too.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      4 years ago from GRENADA

      Hats of to those brave women! Nice review, britflorida and I'll be adding it to my movie 'must-see' list.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Equal pay for women - it's not a lot to ask that's for sure :) sounds like a good film too


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