Women Against Pit Closures
Women Against Pit Closures was a political movement supporting miners and their families in the UK miners' strike of 1984–85. The movement is credited with bringing feminist ideas into practice in an industrial dispute and empowering women to take a public role in a community with a male-dominated sphere.
Their group and support work grew from the communal feeding of families in April and May 1984 to a more explicitly political role. A multitude of local support groups were set up early on in the year-long strike.
As the hardship bit deeper, the stronger became the women's resolve. They began to march with their men, and attend rallies and meetings, learning all the time
Previously non-political, reserved women emerged as gifted creators, and spoke at meetings in order to raise money to continue the task ahead of them.
An early event was a rally at the end of May 1984, held in Barnsley which was attended by 5000 women from coalfields across the country, from Scotland to Kent. This was followed by a conference in June and a large protest march in London on 11 August 1984. 23,000 working class women attended that event, joined by other women trade unionists.
As we passed Downing Street we became silent as we stopped our singing. We donned black scarves, and arm bands and wore black flowers in memory of Davy Jones and Joe Green who had died on our picket lines. We averted our eyes as we marched past Thatcher's residence to show our contempt
The name Women Against Pit Closures was adopted at a national delegate conference in Chesterfield in December 1984 and the group sought Associate Membership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The movement was influenced by contemporary women's peace movements like the women's camp at Greenham Common.
- Loach, Loretta (1985). "We'll be right here to the end ... and after: Women in the Miners' Strike". In Benyon, Huw (ed.). Digging Deeper: Issues in the Miners' Strike. London: Verso. pp. 169–179. ISBN 0-86091-820-3.
- Newton, Gwen, ed. (1985). We are Women, We Are Strong: The Stories of Northumberland Miners' Wives 1984-1985. Northumberland: The People Themselves. ISBN 1-869873-00-9.
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