Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Made In Dagenham

PHS Editor Michelle Styles explains why everyone should make the effort and see Made in Dagenham.
Made in Dagenham is an uplifting feel-good film about the struggle for equal pay in the UK in the late 1960s.

Unlike in the US, thanks in large part to the efforts of the machinists at the Ford Factory in Dagenham, the UK has an equal pay law.
The film is a Must Watch film for anyone who interested in women's rights and how women can make a difference or who simply likes good entertainment. Bob Hoskins as the shop steward who inspires the women to fight because his mother was widowed and paid 40% of a man's wage shows why he is a National Treasure. Miranda Richardson does a star as Barbara Castle who in an age before Margaret Thatcher showed that women did have nerves of steel.  Sally Hawkins is great as the reluctant leader of the women but I really enjoyed Rusamund Pike who played the wife of the Ford UK boss and who despite her Cambridge University History degree was forced to serve canapes and be treated with derision by the Ford US boss... As she said to the Sally Hawkins character, sometimes you want to see history being made. It was the casual male chauvnistic attitudes that really showed how far women had come. Neither the Union bosses nor the Ford executives come off well. The film does point out at the end, that Ford is now a very good employer for women and a strong supporter of equality.
It is SO easy to forget the patronising attitudes that were present in the 1960s. I can remember the story of my father getting a promotion where my parents both happened to work at the time, and my father being paid 50 cents more than my mother so that he could say he was the breadwinner.
And it was good to see emphasis on some of the later struggles as too often people forget that there was more at stake rather than votes for women or women getting into the professions. It is important.

The film makes the point that people should be paid based on the job they do, not on what sex they happen to be born.
Oh and the music really captures the era and is great to listen to. So if you haven't seen it (I don't know if it has been out in the US yet) do try to.

Michelle Styles writes historical romances for Harlequin Historical. Her latest books was repleased in March 2011 -- Breaking the Governess's Rules and her next book comes out in the UK in July 2011 To Marry A Matchmaker
You can read more about Michelle's books on her website

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