International Women’s Day – 8 March 2021
As an equal opportunities employer, SCAPE is supporting International Women's Day (IWD) 2021 by recognising and celebrating the work and achievements of our female employees. Our industry is still largely male-dominated, with a prevalent gender gap, but we’re committed to playing our part in addressing this.
We asked our female employees to share a picture of themselves striking the IWD 2021 campaign theme #ChooseToChallenge hand-up pose, along with an anonymous quote to reflect moments of challenge or achievements that they’ve experienced during their careers.
We received many inspiring quotes and proud pictures of our female employees with their hand high showing their commitment to #ChoosetoChallenge inequality, calling out bias, questioning stereotypes, and helping to forge an inclusive world!
Alison Ramsey, Team SCAPE's social value and performance manager, shares an amazing and inspiring story about her grandmother, a machinist at Ford’s Motor Company in Dagenham.
“Many of us have role models. It could be someone known to us that we want to make proud, or a public figure that we admire. For me, it’s a little lady called Alice. You won’t have heard of her, or recognise her, but she contributed to improving the working life of every woman in the UK.
She wasn’t some powerful CEO, politician or wealthy business leader. She was a humble sewing machinist who, in the 1960s, made car seat covers at Ford’s Motor Company in Dagenham. She and her fellow machinists felt unfairly treated as, despite having to pass a test to gain employment, their roles were classed as “unskilled” and paid 15% less than their male colleagues in equivalent roles.
In 1968, after years of battling for recognition, these 187 women felt they had no alternative but to take strike action, despite the hardship this would mean to them and their families. With no seat covers being produced, cars couldn’t be completed and soon the entire factory was brought to a halt, but Fords still didn’t relent. The men were laid off, many of them husbands or fathers of the striking women, adding to the financial hardship. Ultimately, the Secretary of State for Employment, Barbara Castle, intervened and the women returned to work with their pay increased to 92% of the male rate, instead of the 85% they were receiving before.
A small victory, you may think. But, inspired by the example of the machinists, a movement started which led to the Equal Pay Act 1970. Coming into force in 1975, this Act for the first time prohibited inequality in Britain in terms of pay and conditions of employment.
Alice was my grandmother, who I’m immensely proud of. Her story shows that anyone can make a difference to the lives of those around them and even to those that come years after them. Her tenacity and achievement inspire me in my work”.
Alice's story is just one amazing example of how women have challenged inequality, with inspirational results.
How do you #ChooseToChallenge?
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