Simple statements made by common people, or were they? Maybe a better question would be, "Can the courage demonstrated by a small group of average women find a voice today that could actually promote a global shift in consciousness?" And... "If it could happen in the 60's why not now?"
No screaming, acts of violence or retribution. These women stood up and asked for what they wanted, because "... it was right" and for that reason more than any other. They were not the kind of women who ever spoke back, or even spoke up, most of them were just "ordinary" hardworking housewives, and yet, their voices were heard around the world.
The film "Made in Dagenham" made a powerful impression on me through the sheer simplicity of its understated statement -- that it only took 158 women to change beliefs that had existed for years, which ultimately changed laws globally.
In 1968 a small group of women working as machinists in a factory were classified as unskilled and this became the torch that would burn fires of inequality around the world. They never intended to do anything but ask for their rights to be considered. It might seem like such a simple request, and yet in that time, women were not considered to be on equal ground with men and there were laws that proved it. Many women actually received less than 50 percent of what men earned doing the same jobs.
Money is power, and I can remember, even as a young child, how this fact was demonstrated in my own family. My father held the purse-strings, and he let it be known that this was where the buck stopped. When my mother received an inheritance from her family, it gave her incredible independence and the right to stand up for what she wanted. It finally gave her the "right" to be heard, for her "vote" to count.
Today is seems that many of us, men and women, have just accepted, or become resigned to believing that if we don't have money then we don't have power, our vote doesn't count, and that our voices won't be heard. And that those big corporations holding the purse-strings of our family -- the citizens of this world -- will never change the way they operate.
It seems we have stepped back in time and closed our eyes to the many injustices being perpetrated by these multinational foundations guiding our destiny into a world where the value of our humanity is becoming less regarded year after year.
What will it take for all of us, the men and women of today, to speak out for what we want, to stand in solidarity until we are heard? Regardless of any political affiliations, when it comes to the most basic of human rights, we can all agree on what we want.
It's so simple -- the opportunity for our children to be taught in schools where they can get a good education, access to clean food that isn't grown with pesticides that harm our health, as seen in "The Future of Food," clean water to be available, assuring us that this earth's natural bounty belongs to the people and not major corporations, as documented in "Flow: The Film," and an end to the war machine that Eisenhower warned us about in "Why We Fight."
In "Made in Dagenham," the Ford Motor Company, who was then the 4th largest car corporation in the world, went to great lengths to assure that these women would be stopped, even threatening the British Secretary of State that they would pull tens of thousands of jobs out of England if she didn't make the problem go away. And still this small band of women held firm to their decision, that it wasn't right and it needed to be changed. It didn't take Congress, the House of Parliament or a war to cause this extraordinary shift that ricocheted around the world.
It took 158 women.
When we recognize what is possible, we discover it is these small incremental shifts that have always caused evolutionary change. Maybe the question isn't really about having the courage, maybe it's just about what's right...