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MADE IN DAGENHAM

Little Known
On reading the script, much of the cast and crew was shocked that they had never heard the story of these women before, but in fact, many of the cast actually has a close personal connection to the story of the Dagenham women. "I was ashamed that I'd not known more about the revolution born in Dagenham,” admits Andrea Riseborough. "My own grandmother worked in a factory for most of her life, extremely underpaid.”

Says Daniel Mays, "I grew up in Essex so I knew of the factory and some family members on my mum's side had actually worked there, but I didn't know anything about this story, so it was a really enlightening film to work on. It‟s a story that needs to be told and I‟m so pleased we got the opportunity to do it.”

Jaime Winstone is equally proud to be part of a film that tells such an important story, especially as it would have changed the lives of her immediate family. "My mum worked in a factory and so did my Nan, in a sewing factory,” she explains. "My Nan actually taught me to sew for this role! So I realized that sewing those seats is actually the hardest job in the factory. When the women went on strike, they realized they couldn't get men to do that job, because none of them knew how too. Yet the women were graded as „unskilled‟ and on the same rate of pay as the people that swept the floor. And the conditions that they were working in, with dead pigeons falling on them, were unbelievable. Meanwhile, the men were next door in the gleaming new factory. These women worked so hard and cared for their families. They must have been exhausted, and yet they carried on with this fight. It's inspiring. They didn't know the extent of what they were doing at the time. You look back know and it's revolutionary, but they couldn‟t have known at the time. They were a force of nature. Of course, equal pay is still an issue, and we're not there yet. But this is where it all started.”

"I feel very lucky to be part of a film with such wonderful strong female characters,” says Sally Hawkins. "It's actually incredibly rare. Sadly, equality is very much still a fight we're fighting. In the film industry – again – it's men calling the shots and it always has been. It frustrates me enormously. The message of the film is to keep pushing yourself, and keep challenging yourself. We all have that ability to find that voice inside us.”

She smiles: "As the women of Dagenham showed us, it's so important to fight for what you believe is right, even when it's scary.”

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