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Yet the world had almost forgotten these modest heroines – most of them grandmothers now – until this year and the release of Made in Dagenham, a sparky new feature film that dramatises their story 42 years on.

‘Because we were all women together, we could be more relaxed.

And if a man came in, he had to run the gauntlet of our jokes.

Four lifelong friends are getting ready for their YOU magazine close-up, laughing as I tell them to imagine that our baby-faced photographer is the naked man who once streaked through the women’s workshop at the car factory where they worked in the 1960s.

‘I don’t think anyone got a good look at him because he was so quick – we didn’t see his dingle-dangle,’ recalls Eileen Pullen, chuckling at the memory.

It was getting our own back, really, because there were far more of them than us,’ explains Eileen.

And in an even bolder display of female bonding, the women machinists who stitched together the car covers on those sleek Cortinas and Zephyrs rolling off Ford’s production line proceeded to change the course of British history by going on strike in 1968, demanding the same wages as the men and paving the way for the 1970 Equal Pay Act.

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They set out to fight for a fair deal for themselves; they ended up changing the world of work for generations of women.

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