The movie starts with a scene of sewing room of Ford Dagenham car plant where women machinist assemble the car seat coverings. Many of the women have stripped of their clothes due to hot working conditions. When Albert, the union shop steward, enters the room, he has to shield his eyes in embarrassment from the half-dressed women. He convinces all women to take industrial action against their management for reclassifying them from semi-skilled to unskilled labour. On a result of it women go on an overtime ban and one day strike. After couple of days, Albert comes to women machinist and informs them about a meeting at Ford HQ, Warley. They select Connie, shop steward, and Rita, the lead character to participate in the meeting. These three along with Monty Taylor who is a stereotypical union representative go for the meeting where Monty instructs women to keep mum during the meeting and nod in agreement with him to whatever he says. During the meeting, as union leader Monty, tries to sell them off, Rita intervenes and explains the skills involved in their work to the management. She recommends management to accept women’s terms and keep their status as semi skilled labourers. Now we meet Barbara Castle, Employment Secretary in the Labour Government, who is worried about strikes in the country and lesser productivity. Ford Dagenham ran short of seats and management is concerned about their future course of action.
But later when Rita meets Albert in the coffee shop, she comes to know that there is a larger issue in this dispute considering that women are paid very less percentage of the men’s wages for the same work on the sole basis of their sex. Moreover, it’s not only about Ford Dagenham but companies across the world pay less wages to their women workers. So what they need is sex equality by all the organisations and all the governments across the world. And unless companies and governments change these policies, women will always end up making less than their opposite sex. Albert inspires Rita to fight against such exploitation and proposes her to take over as shop steward.
They receive threatening letters from management for one day strike when they return to the factory. Refusing to tolerate this sexual discrimination any longer, she inspires her fellow women workers to go on a strike for equal pay for women for equal work. All they want is equal pay or nothing. The women go to London to demonstrate their dissatisfaction to parliament.