History GCSE / National 5: How women in Britain fought for equality in the workplace

Gemma Cairney explores the story of womens' rights in the work place and important changes such as the Equal Pay Act.

Gemma meets a one hundred-year-old woman who describes how work opportunities have changed for women over her lifetime.

In World War One and World War Two women did jobs that had traditionally been seen as men's jobs.

But women were not paid the same as men. In 1968 women working in the Ford Dagenham car factory went on strike for equal pay and to be classed as skilled workers.

Gemma meets two women who took part in the Dagenham strike.

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 and Gemma asks if women today are equal at work with men.

Please note, this series was originally broadcast in 2013 and all information was correct at the time of recording. However, you will need to update your class with the latest facts. For example, there are now more female MPs than in 2013.

Teacher Notes

  • Give students a series photographs of women over the last seventy years (including suffragettes, CND protestors, Women's Lib activists and suited businesswomen) and ask what we can deduce about these women.
  • Students should then be divided into groups to research one the women in their photograph.
  • Place the information gathered on a timeline of change. Students should consider how far attitudes have changed towards these women in their research.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching secondary history. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, Eduqas, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from 100 years of the women's movement

How suffragettes won women the vote and changed politics
How women fought for access to birth control in Britain
How women fought for sexual and social equality in the 20th century