Biography, Event, Politics, Women's History

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – A History of Equal Pay

Lilly Ledbetter’s eight year battle started with a little note she found in the women’s bathroom at work. The note ranked her salary alongside the much higher salaries of three male tire-room managers, and Ledbetter was shocked to see that her male peers were making $14,000 and more per year than she was. “I’d worried about being paid less than the men who were doing the same work I was,” Ledbetter records in her memoir, but she never had evidence to prove her suspicions (5). Armed with this alarming new information, Ledbetter took action and sued Goodyear for pay discrimination.


Lucy Frances Nettlefold, OBE (1891-1966) – Cross-Fertilisation: from Commerce to Committee – Pt 2

An avid and maniacally fast but safe driver, all her life, she maintained that care should be taken to preserve London’s character and charm. Consistent with this interest, she became a member of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee. Charm and character preservation lay behind her contesting: “Piccadilly is a beautiful Mess”, resulting in the Fountain of Eros being maintained and preserved in good condition at its centre for many more years.

Event, General, Women's History

The First 40 Years – The Working Women’s Charter

Elections are often won and lost on women’s swing votes … What better time to start a serious debate on the things that matter to women – and to working women in particular? Of course, this debate is already taking place across the country in organisations from Mumsnet to the 30 Per Cent Group, and from the Fawcett Society to many employers. Just this week, Asda finds itself forced to into the debate via a legal challenge from thousands of its women employees embarking on a new battle for equal pay and recognition. And in Newham, the women activists of Focus E15 may have ended their occupation of empty flats but their battle for basic housing continues.A new Working Women’s Charter could transform these debates – not because a new list of new demands will change anything on its own but because it could harness the energy and promise of growing ‘third wave feminism’ …

General, Women's History

‘What does a woman want money for?

Almost all the research into the gender pay gap has looked at its causes, but I want to look at its consequences. The correlation between low pay and unequal pay is unclear – I believe deliberately so: policy makers quite simply don’t want to face up to the fact that poverty is a women’s issue; easier by far to blame the education system, or the way in which benefits are distributed, than to redress the imbalance of power that impoverishes women.


Molly Hadfield – A Radical Warrior Woman Remembered

… when Molly Hadfield was 10, she was told that nursing was not for her – ‘you can’t do the exams’ – but she would be welcome to work in the nurses’ dining room. She took the job. Under the rules lunches were set out on tables for nurses, but sisters and matrons’ meals were kept in the oven. Sisters and matrons sat down to piping hot fare. Cold and cooling meals waited until nurses finished their shifts. The unfairness of the hierarchical system struck Molly Hadfield then and stuck with her, as did the distinction made between kitchen and nursing staff which prevented her from meeting on the premises with cousins and friends who were nurses.


Raging for Wages – An Extract

‘Even at the early age of three, I had some instincts as to the relations of cause and effect, and the basic need to remove the cause of the trouble.’[1] Her words become an epitaph in Kay Keasey’s spirited Australian…

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