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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MADE IN DAGENHAM

By D.E.Levine

Director: Made in Dagenham
Writer: William Ivory
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough, Jaime Winstone, Lorraine Stanley, Nicola Duffett, Geraldine James, Bob Hoskins, Matthew Aubrey, Daniel Mays, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Phil Cornwell, Karen Seacombe, Thomas Arnold, Sian Scott, Robbie Kay et al.
Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley
Executive Producer: Tim Haslam
Line Producers: Laurie Borg
Original Music: David Arnold
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Comedy

Made in Dagenham is a fictionalized account of a true incident that occurred at the Ford automotive factory in Dagenham, England in 1968.

Focusing on the rebellion and strike of the women seamstresses who did piece work on the interior of the cars by stitching fabric together without patterns and were vastly underpaid both as women and as unskilled labor, the film brings to light the women who until now have never publicly taken credit for changing the pay scale for women throughout the world.

As part of the automotive workers union, the women were expected to accept less than half of what men were paid and to let the male union leaders dictate what they could and could not do.

Instead, without formal strike training, they banded together, walked out on strike and demanded their just requests.

Eventually they were invited to meet with British Employment Minister Barbara Castle, a woman who until their strike had not championed their requests, but after meeting with them forced Ford into an immediate pay raise agreement.

The outcome of the story is victory and within a couple of years countries throughout the world were adopting the British pay model of "equal pay" for women as their own.

The cast is first rate and believable, giving strong, credible performances. Most importantly, since the women who achieved the equal pay status never bragged of their achievement, even to their children and grandchildren, it highlights an important event in history.

We can only hope that the saga of the Ford Dagenham plant and what these women achieved will someday be taught in school curriculum both in the UK and abroad, as it was an event that literally changed the world.