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The idea of progress : how have women improved their living conditions and struggle for equality during the Sixties?

Dissertation : The idea of progress : how have women improved their living conditions and struggle for equality during the Sixties?. Recherche parmi 299 000+ dissertations

Par   •  12 Octobre 2021  •  Dissertation  •  846 Mots (4 Pages)  •  398 Vues

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First, I will define the notion of progress. The idea of progress can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change. A technical, scientific or social advance which contributes to making the world a better place. Socialy speaking, it means less discrimination and more equality. This year, we studied several documents about the idea of progress. In order to illustrate this notion, I have chosen to talk about social progress through Women in the 1960s in UK. Women can be a theme perfectly adapted to the study of this notion because in some cases, women had to fight for their rights and go through severe opposition.                                                                                                             We can wonder how women improve their living conditions and struggle for equality in the Sixities?                                                                                                                                                                             First, we will talk about Women’s liberation movement, then we’ll see social progress towards gender equality.

  1. Women’s liberation movement

To answer this question, I have chosen an extract from the film “Made in Dagenham”, directed by William Ivory in 2010. It deals with Rita O’Grady who is a sewing machinist working in the Ford car Factory in Dagenham. Rita is very upset because of the salary gap and the lack of consideration from her men colleagues, so she decided to go on strike and protest against pay discrimination but the fight was not taken seriously. Indeed, when Rita met Mrs. Castle, the Secretary of State for Employment, she tried to convince the girls to go back to work by making empty promises but Mrs. Castle had not expected Rita’s determination. Actually, the working woman stands her ground, unyielding. She stays forceful and keeps negociating until Mrs. Castle commits to doing something to guarantee an Equal Pay Act.

  1. Social progress towards gender equality

Rita and her colleagues ask for equal pay for equal work. They want the same salary as men and be considered as their equals. But the government doesn’t seem to be ready and Barbara Castle tells them that if they passed the laws, “The Lord’s will kick up a fuss” but Rita says she absolutely needs promises. During the meeting, Barbara Castle, proposes to the women to get seventy five percent of the men’s incomes but Rita thinks it is not enough and she’d like to get ninety percent of the incomes. The film takes place in 1968 and at the end of the year, The Matrimonial Property Act and the Equal Pay Act were passed, and these laws paved the way for women’s liberation movement and gender equality.


To conclude, we can see trough these two parts and the movie Made in Dagenham that Rita O’Grady and her colleagues helped women get more incomes and were part of the society’s transformation process of the Sixties, so they managed to get social progress. In this movie, the notion of social progress is highlighted by the fact that women at that time took their destiny in their own hands and stood up for equality and recognition of their rights and status. Rita can be regarded as a heroine because she contributed to improving the situations of working women.


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