A battle against all odds
1980 and the situation for working class women in the city of Wollongong was dire. Denied work at the steelworks, the city's major employer, women faced either exploitation in backyard sweatshops, or having to make the pre-dawn trek to Sydney every day in the hope of finding work.
When a local shop owner's sexual exploitation of the women's desperate situation was revealed, a spark was lit that began a battle for Jobs for Women.
It was a battle where working class and migrant women came up against the country's richest and most powerful company, from factory gates to the highest court in Australia
The company tried to pit male steelworkers against the women, including any wives that joined the campaign.
The campaign navigated anti-discrimination laws that had not been tested in court.
And where the company had bottomless pockets for its legal defence, the women struggled even to access the most basic legal aid. Yet the movement for Jobs for Women grew. From handfuls camping at the company gates, the struggle expanded to hundreds of diverse women fighting a class action to win jobs, supported by a growing collection of allies.
The Women of Steel documentary film shows how solidarity can not only overcome the biggest of hurdles, but can change the world.
View some inspiring images from the campaign.
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Why a documentary feature film?
Women of Steel is a true story that changed the situation for women across Australia. It is a story that is virtually unknown, it needs to be told.
The Women of Steel 'stars' are not politicians nor celebrities nor figureheads of any kind - but working class women who, through tireless grassroots struggle and by gathering support and building alliances, stood up to a seemingly unbeatable foe, Broken Hill Pty Ltd.
It is film about equality for women, about unionism and workers' rights, of migrant justice and breaking down barriers, of challenging corporate power, and of building solidarity.