Striking similarities: representing South Asian women's industrial action in Britain

McDowell, Linda, Anitha, Sundari and Pearson, Ruth (2012) Striking similarities: representing South Asian women's industrial action in Britain. Gender, Place and Culture, 19 (2). pp. 133-152. ISSN 0966-369X

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The focus of this article is two significant episodes in British labour politics. The first is the Grunwick strike between 1976 and 1978; the second a dispute at Gate Gourmet that began in 2005. In both disputes, women of South Asian origin were the key actors and their legacy has been constructed through striking imagery as one in which against the odds exotic or passive Others became unexpected heroines of industrial struggle. These representations retained their power, despite significant social, economic and political changes in ‘post-Fordist’ Britain, including in the political rights of strikers, and in the participation and position of both women and minority workers in the labour force. Drawing on interviews with South Asian women involved in each dispute, this article challenges these representations and their significance in accounts of the action, documenting the complex, multiple motives of South Asian women involved in labour politics in the UK.

Keywords:South Asian women, strikes, Grunwick, Gate Gourmet, stereotypes, the Other
Subjects:L Social studies > L321 Women's Studies
L Social studies > L330 Ethnic studies
L Social studies > L380 Political Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:4875
Deposited On:25 Jan 2012 18:51

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