This sub-section covers a number of significant strikes by women in Britain. The best known is the 1968 strike at Ford Dagenham by women machinists demanding equal pay with men doing jobs of equivalent skill, which helped to achieve the Labour government’s Equal Pay Act of 1970. The Grunwick strike by Asian immigrant women in 1976-77 against very low pay and enforced overtime was (although ultimately unsuccessful) a landmark in mobilizing white male workers in support of immigrants and gaining widespread sup port, for examples from MPs. There were other strikes by women in very badly paid work, such as cleaners. In addition, wives and mothers of miners engaged in the major 1984 strike became actively involved on the picket lines and in providing practical support, and in the process gained a new sense of empowerment.
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Toupin, who is Canadian, writes initially from that perspective in her history of a feminist campaign that started from the reality that a majority of women worked unpaid in the home. Wages for Housework asserted that domestic work and child rearing and caring for the elderly did have specific economic value. The aim was partly to make women's contribution to society visible and also to increase the independence of housewives - and the campaign mobilized to prevent cuts to family allowances in Canada and the UK, a financial source controlled by women. Wages for Housework ran counter, however, to the predominant feminist pressure to open up job opportunities for all women, and take them out of the home. The book includes an 'Afterword' on the current situation, in which care and domestic work is often outsourced to migrant workers.
Study of British movement since 1960s, legislative changes and political developments affecting women in work, the family, sex and culture. Chapter 1, pp. 9-47, charts the evolution of the movement in terms of key protests, campaigns and organization, including some examples of nonviolent action.
The Anzac legend has been traditionally dominated by white males and was increasingly brought under the spotlight with the emergence of feminist movements from the 1960s onwards. But it is was feminists that rekindled interest in Anzac in the 1980s with the Women Against Rape in War protests at Anzac Day events in the early 1980s. The Second Wave Feminist movement in the 1960s and 70s saw a significant shift towards a more specific focus on issues around violence against women, most particularly in the realm of domestic/family violence. The Australian feminist movement also opposed the Australian involvement in the Vietnam War and promoted the cause of nuclear disarmament.
Chapter 1, ‘Beginnings’ examines role of women in May 1968 and the emergence of the Mouvement de Liberation des Femmes in 1970, laying of a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier to commemorate his wife (leading to arrests), support for women strikers (e.g. in a hat factory in Troyes) and the 5th April 1971 Manifesto by 343 prominent women who had resorted to illegal abortions. Later chapters explore ideological divisions within the movement, theoretical issues and the relationship of feminists to socialist government in France.
Using her personal experience the author examines how women were dismayed by their treatment in radical movements, and how they turned their activist skills to feminist campaigning.
Examines the evolution of second wave feminism in the USA from the early protests.
Comparing the US, British and Swedish movements.
Includes material on the second wave of Italian feminism in 1960s and 1970s and developments on divorce, family law and employment law in the 1970s and 1980s, Ends with some discussion of lesbian and queer struggles for recognition.
After looking at earlier history of US feminism, examines 2nd wave and in particular the mobilization around the Equal Rights Act passed in 1975; also explores ideological divisions within the movement.
Autobyography of Gloria Steinem, journalist and prominent activist in feminist campaigns in the USA from the 1960s onward, who was also one of the foundersof Ms Magazine. It provides detailed insights into the early feminist ways of orgsanizing and protesting, and the internal politics of the movement. the book also covers Steinem's earlier two years in India and contact with the Gandhian movement, her links with Native American women, and her continued actvism in varied causes.
Discusses post-Franco development of feminist movement and legislative results.
Chapter 6, ‘Feminists fight back’ (pp.169-224) covers the protests in Britain against male violence, and also constructive organizational responses and the campaign for legal change and challenges to prevailing attitudes.
See also: ‘Striking Progress’ a list of strikes involving women 1973-74, pp. 332-48.
The authors focus on two important strikes in the UK in two different socio-economic contexts: whereas the two year Grunwick strike for union recognition had national support and was backed by secondary picketing, the Gate Gourmet confrontation in 2008 lacked union support (secondary picketing was now illegal). But the authors see both strikes as challenging stereotypes about Asian women, and draw on in-depth interviews with strikers to show the influence of migration (from East Africa or the Punjab), initial high expectations and anger at their low pay and poor working conditions. The book also makes comparisons with trade union struggles in today's gig economy.
Recalls that the 1968 Ford Dagenham strike for equal pay, although it achieved a substantial pay rise and eventual parity with men on the same grade, did not recognise the skilled nature of the sewing-machinists work by upgrading them. Provides brief account of later 1984 strike by women machinists demanding upgrading, which led to an independent inquiry, which recognised their claim. A film Making the Grade by the Open Eye Film, Video and Animation Workshop documents this second struggle.
The author was secretary of Brent Trades Council in London when the non-unionised women strikers at the mail-order plant contacted him for help in 1976, and became a member of the strike committee. He also wrote an obituary of the inspirational leader of the strike, Jayaben Desia, when she died 23 December 2010 (Guardian, 29 Dec 2010, p.30). (For a celebration of Desia’s role and life see also Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, ‘Remembering an unsung heroine of our modern history’, Independent, 3 Jan 2011, p.5.)
This is an account and analysis of the 1968 Ford Dagenham women sewing machinists’ strike by two men on opposing sides (trade union convener of plant and Ford negotiating team) involved in the dispute. A lively semi-fictionalized account of the dispute from the women’s viewpoint is the 2010 film ‘Made in Dagenham’.
Account by journalist who gave prominent coverage to the women’s struggle during the strike.