“Made in Dagenham”: Celebrating the Protest that led to a Revolution

by Larissa Dzegar



It is 2010 and I read an article the other day in the New York Times about how women are still dealing with the disparity in wages, a battle the women at Ford’s Dagenham assembly plant fought, and supposedly won, in 1968. Their struggles, and their victories, are honored in Nigel Cole’s new film, “Made in Dagenham”, a British comedy coming to us this fall. The film recounts the true story of the 187 sewing machinists who protested being classed as “unskilled laborers” on account of their gender and were therefore being paid less than their male counterparts- a strike that started a revolution and ended with the Equal Pay Act being passed in parliament the following year. 


 The film not only salutes a milestone in wage equality, it reminds us of a seemingly lost sisterhood and encourages women to stick together and fight for each other. Lest we forget- in these days when “reality” television bombards us with stories of women competing against each other for the husband or plastic surgery of their dreams- herstory has shown us that solidarity leads to empowerment and endurance leads to victory. 



The women of Ford’s Dagenham plant won a battle 42 years ago for a war we’re still fighting today. Statistics in the U.S. show that for every dollar men earn, women earn 77 cents. Making up over half the work-force, women are often primary contributers to household finances, but still earn less than their male peers. Although I’m thrilled there’s a movie coming out that’s bringing attention to gender-based discrimination in the workforce, I find the fact that this is still relevant today unnerving. Unfortunately, there is still cause for outrage and there is still a need for reform.


Nigel Cole, who also directed  “Calendar Girls” and “Saving Grace”, has chosen a stellar cast to tell this crucial story, including Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike, and Jaime Winstone. Hitting theaters in the UK October 1st and in the US November 19th, “Made in Dagenham” promises to be entertaining, inspiring, and educational. 




PHOTOS COURTESY OF: paramountpicturesintl.com/intl/uk/madeindagenham


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