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Women & the British Car Industry

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Question 1 - Collection A Using the sources describe how women are portrayed and explain how this compares with the way men are used to advertise the same product. Advert 1 shows a woman sat over the seat of a MG Midget sports car. This advertisement was taken for Rover in the 1970's. Most of the advert is taken up with the young model and only the windscreen and seat of the car is visible. Its target audience is men and it uses sex appeal implying that if you buy this car you will get the model. The model is dressed in hot pants and a low cut top and the text compares the good looking girl to the good looking car by saying 'Take a good look at its looks. Pretty good, right?' Advert 2 is for Morris Mini Minors and was released in 1964. This was a popular choice of car for pop stars and fashionable people. The advert shows two men sat in the car while two women pose by the car doors. Both the men and women are dressed up which makes the car look more sophisticated. Although the women's pose makes them look ditzy and flighty where as the men are sat in the car, in control. The advert was taken before the Equal Pay Act of 1969. Advert 3 was released in the 1970's to advertise an MGB GT with a V8 engine. In the advert the car is parked on the side of a hill to suggest that the powerful engine is enough to take it off road. The women in this advert is dressed more sophisticated than in advert 1 and will appeal more to upper class men and possibly women. There is no text on this advert other than the make of car. Advert 4 is also for the MGB GT but only shows men in the picture, it has been shot in an airfield to appeal more to men. ...read more.


Photo 3 shows women sewing in the Trim Shop in 1934. This backs up Source 2 especially as Photo 3 was taken 25 years before Source 2 and for 18 of those years Mrs Eileen Mills was sewing in the Trim Shop. Source 2 also compares with Photo 4 as they both show a women who has been promoted. Photo 4 shows the women sat behind a desk in the middle of a line of men with the other women in front of her doing the lower paid clerical jobs. Although it could be see that women were becoming equal to men in the car industry as they were being promoted only one woman in each source has been promoted and in Source 2 it has taken her 18 years to do it. Both were taken in around the same year as well which shows what a novelty it was to hear of a woman being promoted. Sources 1 and 2 are not very reliable as they were printed to advertise the good side of the Rover Group and so are biased. This means that they do not go far in backing up the photos in Collection B. Question 4 - Collection D Compare the sources carefully. What similarities and differences can you detect? Collection D is made up of two sources from the Rover Group. Source 1 is a page taken from a wages book in 1941. Because this was taken during the war most men were involved in the war service and so there are more women than men working in the factory. The factory is more likely to be producing weapons now rather than cars. The source shows a lack of equal pay. Women are paid about half of the wage of men. For example Mr Hoffman is paid �5 6s 9d where as Miss Carigan is paid �2 5s 9d, although this was before the Equal Pay Act. ...read more.


Source 1 of Collection D could also disagree with the statement because the wages book shows many women who were on the pay role of the car plant. Source 2 shows that 10.10% of all the females in the factory were in managerial grades which is quite a high percentage of the total female workforce. It works out at 261 out of 2585 women. Women were greatly valued during both of the world wars as they were there to take over their husband's jobs and had to learn new skills very quickly and apply them equally as fast. They were seen as significant at the time because they had to farm the nation's food and make the army's ammunition. The Great Depression had begun and Britain became more dependant on what it could produce itself which put women's new found skills into action. More British made products were needed as exports and imports had been damaged by the war and the bombing so women continued to work in the factories as they had been during the war. This was at a time when the Equal Pay Act had not been passed and for a long time women were not being paid as much as their male work colleagues, but they continued to do their jobs. I believe that these sources show the overall view that women were not as significant to the car industry as men were. Women are used more in the advertisements than the decision making and even though women did work in some of the factories gauging car parts and sewing upholstery does not significantly contribute to the car industry. Although, this view is limited to Britain in the 1930's - 1990's and so is not completely reliable. Women are making more of an impact on industry in general since the new millennium. I do not think that women have played what could be described as a significant role in the car industry up to date, but that what they have achieved has been notable and, at times, rather important. ...read more.

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