Striking Women – 25th June

Striking Women – an event for Feminist Book Fortnight

striking women

The Feminist Library

Monday 25thJune at 7pm

Suggested donation £3 on the door to support the Feminist Library. The best way to support the Feminist Library is by becoming our Friend.

As the women’s strike becomes an international phenomenon, and #MeToo is leading to more and more women outing their abusive bosses and co-workers, the time is apt to look at the history of striking women. From the 19thCentury to today, what can we learn from their struggles? How can we rebuild women’s solidarity? What do modern women’s labour struggles look like?

To answer these questions and more we will be joined by the authors of Striking Women,Dr Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson, Sally Groves the author of Trico:A Victory to Remember, one of the striking women, and Diana Holland, assistant general secretary of Unite the Union. With more speakers to be announced.


Trico: A Victory to Remember


The remarkable story, still relevant today, of 400 women who, in 1976, went on strike for 21 weeks to win equal pay with their male counterparts. The strike was trail-blazing, and was essential to making women’s rights a central focus for the labour movement in the UK. Trico: A Victory to Rememberis illustrated with stunning archive photos mostly unseen for over forty years, and anecdotes from some of those involved.


Striking Women: Struggles and strategies of South Asian women workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet

Striking Women book

Striking Womengives a voice to the women involved as they discuss their lives, their work and their trade unions. Focusing on South Asian women’s contributions to the struggle for workers’ rights in the UK, this fascinating insight into two key industrial disputes uses interviews with women who participated in the disputes and rarely-seen archival material.

‘This timely and authoritative work is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the social history of industrial relations in Britain since the 1970s.’ – Professor Ben Rogaly, University of Sussex


 The Ascott Martyrs

AscottSixteen women, some with babies in arms, were imprisoned in 1873 for supporting their striking farm worker husbands in the Oxfordshire village of Ascott Under Wychwood. The traumatic event led to riots and a reprieve from Queen Victoria. Their legacy is that picketing was made legal in 1874 and local religious leaders were no longer appointed as magistrates.



Sundari Anitha
 is Reader at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln. She has researched and written in the two areas of labour market experiences of South Asian women in the UK, and on violence against women and girls in the UK and India. Her recent publications include articles on South Asian women’s participation in industrial disputes at Grunwick and Gate Gourmet, forced marriage, marriage migrants’ experiences of domestic violence in the UK, transnational abandonment of women and gender-based violence in university communities. She has carried out research in the UK and in India. She previously managed a Women’s Aid refuge and worked as an Advice Worker for Asha Projects, a specialist refuge for survivors of domestic violence. She has been active in campaigns and policy-making to address violence against women since 1999.

Ruth Pearson is a feminist economist has researched and written about women’s work in the global economy since the 1970s., focusing in recent years on migrant workers and gendered globalisation.  She is the co-author with Diane Elson of the classical article on women workers in export production: “Nimble Fingers make Cheap workers” published in Feminist Review in 1981. More recent books and articles include Thailand’sHidden Workforce: Burmese Migrant Women Factory Workers Zed Books. Pearson, R.; (2004) Globalization, Export-Orientated Employment and Social Policy: Gendered Connections. Palgrave., Womenand Credit: Researching the Past, Refiguring the Future Berg 2002, Corporate responsibility and Labour Rights: Codes of Conduct Economy in the Global Economy Earthscan, 2002; Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy Routledge 1998. She has carried out research in Latin America, Including Argentina Bolivia, Cuba and Mexico as well as in Thailand, Myanmar and Europe. She has also been an activist in a range of women’s organisations including AWID (Association of Women’s Rights in Development), the UK Women’s Budget Group and Home Workers Worldwide. She has acted as a consultant and/ or academic advisor for a range of international organisations such as UNDP, Oxfam. Action Aid, and DFID.   With Sundari Anitha she has produced a n interactive website for schools and community groups offering resources on migration, women’s and labour rights based on research on South Asian women in the UK(see:

Sally Groves was one of the women on strike in 1976 and the Publicity Officer on the Trico AUEW Strike Committee. She worked at Trico from 1975 – 1980 on assembly and then as a trainee tool setter. She later worked at Magnatex, becoming Women’s Delegate on the AUEW Southall District Committee. From 1990 until retirement she worked as a mental health social worker in London.

Diana Holland is the Assistant General Secretary of Unite and the Treasurer of the Labour Party. She was awarded the OBE in the 2001 New Year Honours, for “services to Equal Opportunities in Employment”. In 2006, she wasChair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation women’s committee.

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