Taking the Floor at Ford

Women workers from the former Ford Transit plant share their experiences of breaking into a male world – in conversation with Oral Historian Padmini Broomfield.

“When I first started, [in the 1980s], the older men didn’t think that women should be here … they thought that women should be at home at the kitchen sink.”

Thirty years later there were women in all roles – senior managers, supervisors, engineers, quality inspectors, production line workers – working at the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton. Early resistance by the old guard, who felt “the ladies couldn’t hack it” because they didn’t have muscle power and “leather hands”, eventually gave way to changing attitudes as more women entered the workforce.

Join Oral Historian Padmini Broomfield in conversation with some of those who worked at Ford as they remember and reflect on their own experiences of breaking into manufacturing, engineering and other previously male-dominated environments.

This event has been organised by the TRANSITion: from fields to Ford and beyond – a community project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is capturing the cultural and industrial history of the former Ford site in Swaythling. The project will culminate in a pop-up museum in 2018.

Oral History & Heritage Consultant.
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