The Relentless Relevance of ‘9 to 5’

In December of 2015, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of “9 to 5,” Rolling Stone ran an interview with Patricia Resnick, who wrote the original screenplay. The 1980 film, featuring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, and Lily Tomlin as women who kidnap their chauvinist boss and run the business better than he ever could, was Fonda’s brainchild. It was inspired by the 9to5 organization, which advocates for women in the workplace. In the interview, Resnick addresses how little had really changed for women by 2015, and the threat of political forces looking to undo what progress there has been. Who could have predicted that would be an even bigger threat in 2017?

In some ways we’ve definitely moved forward a little bit, but there does seem to be a lot of sentiment in this country, in one of our political parties, that seems to be trying to undo what little we’ve been able to do. The other thing that makes it difficult is that so many people think that this is all been settled. We did a musical of 9 to 5 on Broadway in 2009, and it was really frustrating because a lot of the interviews that I did with male journalists, the first thing they said was, “Well, none of those issues are a problem in contemporary life, so how are women of today going to be able to relate to it?” I thought, yeah, you can’t sexually harass someone as obviously. We don’t call people “secretaries.” Other than that, what has changed? People would kill to work from 9 to 5.

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