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.
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.