The city women who made bosses pay

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS -

Twenty-five years ago af­ter an epic bat­tle five Peter­bor­ough women se­cured a mo­men­tous court vic­tory that changed Bri­tish so­ci­ety. The Free­mans Five, led by Irene Pick­stone from Stan­ground, were all ware­house work­ers at one of Peter­bor­ough’s big­gest em­ploy­ers.

They were paid less than men do­ing the same job.

They de­cided that was a wrong that needed right­ing and af­ter a long fight they emerged vic­to­ri­ous.

Their strug­gle has been im­mor­talised by lo­cal theatre com­pany Eastern An­gles in a com­mu­nity play en­ti­tled All Wrapped Up In West­wood. The women’s story will get a fresh look at a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion at Peter­bor­ough Town Hall (see Go page 50 for de­tails) on Satur­day as part of Peter­bor­ough Women’s Fes­ti­val.

The or­gan­is­ers hope Irene will be able to at­tend. Women (and men) across the coun­try have much to be grate­ful for to Irene and her friends.

I won­der what they think about to­day’s gen­der pay gap and the 18.4 % dif­fer­ence be­tween av­er­age hourly earn­ings for men and women?

The pay gap is dif­fer­ent to what the Free­mans work­ers fought for which was equal pay for equal work.

Sim­pli­fied the pay gap high­lights how the boys get the top jobs. It is a more sub­tle and in­sid­i­ous dis­crim­i­na­tion even than that faced by Irene and her friends.

And it will take an­other epic bat­tle to right this wrong.

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