Female Workers in Companhia Nacional de Fiação e Tecidos at Torres Novas, Portugal
Female Workers in Companhia Nacional de Fiação e Tecidos at Torres Novas, Portugal
Source: Arquivo Municipal de Torres Novas

It is a fact that despite the fight for equality, women historically face a great amount of prejudice in a labour context when compared to their male counterpart. Unfortunately, in contemporary days there are still some factors of discrimination, like unequal pay to the same job and male privilege when applying for jobs, especially in careers that are seen as “men’s work”, e.g. engineering. Through “Gender and Labour in Industrial Sites”, the trainee is expected to: - Learn more about gender disparity in historical and contemporary contexts; - Become more aware of situations of discrimination in labour circumstances.


Female factory workers in fairs (1950's)
Female factory workers in fairs (1950's)
Source: Arquivo Municipal de Torres Novas

In this task, you should: - Choose a factory (may or not be active) in your hometown or surrounding cities; - Research online about gender equality in the workplace in general, and in industrial environments in particular; - Visit the site (if possible); - Interview workers from the factory, asking them about gender disparities in their workplace (we recommend you not to merely interview women, others will have different points of view!); - Retrieve data about gender equality in the factory using archive material; - Prepare a presentation with your conclusions. Check the document "Gender and Labour in Industrial Sites_Task" for some tips!


There are at least four methods of retrieving information for the purpose of this quest. Below you may find a step-by-step list. The document "Gender and Labour in Industrial Sites_Process" has some advice on what to look for and pay attention. 1- Research online 2- Visit the factory 3- Take a look at the archive 4- Interview factory workers Then, you are ready to prepare the presentation.



If you feel like you achieved the goals above, congratulations on your work! In this quest, you were challenged to choose a factory and do some research on gender disparity in the workplace. Using different research methods, you explored what it means to suffer from gender discrimination, not only broadly but also at a local level. You may have found that the type of gender disparity that occurs in industrial sites differs from that which occurs in the service sector. You may have also learnt that gender is not binary and that there are other valid gender identities that one has to take into account when doing research about active factories. You also had the opportunity to learn how to do primary and secondary research, including the use of archives and interviews to collect data. Afterwards, you were able to draw some conclusions and get creative with your presentation. Hopefully, with this small quest, you may contribute to a fairer and just world.


Learning Outcomes

  • There are diverging labour conditions based on different gender identities
  • Industrial workplace inequalities exist.
  • It is important to promote gender equality and social justice in industrial workplaces.

Knowledge Acquired

  • Learn about the history of a local factory and its relevance to the town
  • Learn about demographics and workplace statistics
  • Get to know different gender identities (male, female, trans*, non-binary)

Skills Acquired

  • Read industrial floor plans
  • Develop critical visual skills
  • Develop interviewing skills
  • Know how to research and use archive material

Competences Acquired

  • Interpretation of primary and secondary research data
  • Critical thinking.
  • Ability to cross information and draw conclusions
  • Present conclusions based on information retrieved from data collected using different research methods.