A movie recommendation

I never thought I’d be recommending a movie on my blog. I am an indifferent movie viewer, using minimal  analytical skills to assess what I have seen. I don’t appreciate the subtle nuances presented by the director, and simply view movies as a diversion, be they drama or humour.

This movie, recommended by someone who possesses all of the viewing skills I lack, grabbed me by the throat. I wanted to share it with you.

“A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.”

I recall working as a nurse in Australia, in the late 1960’s. Our wages were determined by the fact that this was a female occupation, hence we were not remunerated on par with male wages. I remember our protests, appearances on TV, marches, and then finally, our voices were heard, and we received wage rises.

But, look at this report from 1987.  There was still obstruction and heel dragging, until finally justice was served. I tend to forget that I was part of that history, perhaps not such a dramatic role as the workers in the Ford plants in the film, but my colleagues and I did contribute to the wages and benefits that many female workers now take for granted, in many parts of the world.

Equal Pay Handbook

Nurses’ Case Print G7200, 1987
Nurses employed under federal awards claimed that existing wage scales did not reflect their
professional standards or provide adequate career opportunities, and that the education, training and
duties of nurses warranted pay rates equivalent to other health care professionals.
The nurses claimed that their rate of pay was too low because the 1972 equal pay for work of equal
value principle had not been applied to their salaries. They submitted that their rate of pay had been
fixed in the knowledge that nursing was a female-dominated occupation, that sex discrimination
depressed the wage level, and that this had never been corrected. In evidence the nurses compared
the percentage wage increase they had received since the 1972 equal pay decision with that received
by a fitter in the same period.
The Full Bench held that nurses’ rates … were assessed in 1970 prior to the 1972 Equal Pay
decision on the basis that nursing is a predominantly female occupation; that this assessment has
caused the rates to be depressed, and that there has been no subsequent adjustment to fully redress
the situation … In our opinion all that has happened is that differences between male and female
rates within nurses awards have been eliminated, but the original sex bias caused by assessment on
the basis of a predominantly female rate remains. The nurses received substantial pay increases.



Filed under Feminism, Movies, Wage equality

7 responses to “A movie recommendation

  1. Hey, Kathleen.. now it’s a triple post! I have troubles like that with some sites, also. E niente!


  2. Kathleen

    Sorry for the double post there – having all sorts of problems – I checked and double checked, i saw it, then it was gone.. anyhoo, apologies again


  3. Hi, fellow women!! It really is something, that in the 21st century, there is no guarantee of equality/parity for women doing the very same work as men. “They” sure do try to keep us in our place, eh?

    Kathleen, let us know what your dad said. I guess a lot of the men were angry because the factory ground to a halt when the women were no longer making the seat covers, etc., even though the women had earlier come out in sympathy when the men struck for better pay and conditions.


  4. Kathleen

    My Dad used to work at Ford Dagenham as a Fireman. My brother said this film is really good, so I keep meaning to get a copy so I can let Dad watch it. I said to him I hoped he was on the side of these women…


  5. djones47

    I didn’t know you had an activist past. Way to go. And Michelle is so right, especially about women being the sole or main family supporters.


  6. Michelle

    And it still goes on everywhere. We’ve only made minimal gains in the United States. Women still average 65 cents for every dollar a man makes. Even in this century it is often assumed that women’s wages are only superficial because she has “a husband to support her”. Truth is that most of the working women are the sole support of their family or they can’t make it on only one income.
    Thanks, Yvonne for the reccomendation and your participation in the on going strugle.


  7. Kathleen

    Hi Yvonne – sorry I’ve been missing the blog!

    My Dad worked at the Dagenham plant as a Fireman for years. We’ve not seen this yet, my brother said it was good, so I must get it so Dad can watch. I said to him I hope he was on the side of those women!!

    Hope all well


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