During a time when our gay and lesbian friends and family are fighting against discrimination and for their most basic rights, it seems quite appropriate to revisit a story of a group of women standing up for workplace equality. Sometimes we can use a reminder of past accomplishments to spur on new ones.
In 1968, a group of 187 women workers went on strike at the Ford Motor Company Limited’s Dagenham assembly plant to protest their skill grading and inferior pay. Their efforts eventually led to the UK passing the Equal Pay Act 1970, which forbade pay or conditions of employment differences between men and women. Made in Dagenham is the dramatization of the strike, brought about by producers Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen (The Crying Game) after Woolley heard a radio interview which had reunited the strikers 40 years later. Struck by their camaraderie and humor, Woolley was inspired to make this film which stars Sally Hawkins (Never Let Me Go, An Education) as Rita O’Grady who emerges as the group leader. Here is the trailer which has that feel-good-movie-of-the-year thing going:
Made in Dagenham is directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) and boasts a supporting cast that includes Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Deathly Hallows), Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland), Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice, An Education. The film has already won several awards at the Dinard British Film Festival and is slated for a mid-November release. I don’t know about you, but I’ll probably secretly sneak out under cover of darkness, shed my crusty exterior and let an emotional tear or two dribble down my cheek.