L to R: Director, Camille Hardman; LW President & CEO, Linda Crompton; Director, Gary Lane; Zoe Nicholson; LW Board President, Lee Ellen Banks; Producer, Larry Lane.

Leadership Women, Inc. was excited to present an exclusive, private viewing of the new documentary “Still Working 9 to 5” this past September.   This unique film revisits the ERA movement of the early 1980s through the lens of the 40th anniversary of the original “9 to 5” comedy – which lent an incredibly impactful voice to working women at the time.  Coinciding with our Leadership America session in Los Angeles, the class had the opportunity to travel to North Hollywood to view the award-winning documentary and meet with the filmmakers and iconic feminist activist Zoe Nicholson for a Q & A session.  This was an amazing opportunity for Leadership America participants to not only ask questions regarding the creation of the documentary but to also engage with Zoe, who was so prominently featured in the film for her work on the ERA movement.

The film inspires viewers to ask such questions as:  why are we settling for the extraordinary wage gap that widens daily with inflation?   Why do 78% of Americans believe the ERA passed and women are in the US Constitution?  Has the ME TOO movement faded in the long shadow of our country inching to the right and the slow erasure of Roe dissolving women’s agency?

Still Working 9 to 5 explores the challenges and barriers to success for women in today’s workforce and society- and what progress has not been made for women since the original release of the 1980 the blockbuster comedy 9 to 5 about 3 secretaries fighting for basic workplace equality.

The new documentary includes commentary from original 9 to 5 film cast members Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, as well as Rita Moreno, and Allison Janney, alongside advocates and leaders of prominent women’s rights organizations including Lilly Ledbetter, Zoe Nicholson, Karen Nussbaum, Ellen Cassedy.

Still Working 9 to 5 premiered at SXSW and has been screened at prestigious festivals such as at Hot Docs, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and the Doc Edge Film Festival New Zealand. Upcoming festival screenings including Doc Lisboa, the Nashville Film Festival, and Mill Valley Film Festival, Seattle International Doc Film Festival, and Warsaw International Film Festival, just to name a few.

The film received the Best Audience Feature Film award at the Nashville Film Festiva, and Jury Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2022 American Documentary & Animation Film Festival.   Other nominations include Best Documentary Feature by the Next Generation Indie Film Awards; Best Historical Documentary by the Critic’s Choice Documentary Awards; Best Music Documentary and Best Documentary Score by The Hollywood Music in Film Awards, so it was incredibly special for the class of Leadership America to have this unique opportunity.

Still Working 9 to 5 Frequently Asked Questions

How long did it take to make the documentary?

  • Filmmakers started making the film in Oct 2018. Karen Nussbaum was their first interview and Dabney Coleman was their last, just before the start of the Pandemic in February 2020.

What are the major themes or issues are explored in the film?

  • Still Working 9 to 5 explores issues related to women’s treatment and experiences in the workforce, and the lack of progress from the time the original 9 to 5 film was released in 1980 until now. Topics include pay equity, career advancement and mobility, sexual harassment, childcare, and becoming pregnant while on the job. The film also touches on the Equal Right Amendment.

How did Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson decide to do a remake of the iconic 9 to 5 song?

  • It was the brainchild of Steve Summers, an EP on our film and Dolly Parton’s Creative Manager. They bought multi-Grammy winner Shane McAnally into the mix and a few months later they had a demo. When Dolly Parton heard the rendition, she squealed and later decided it would make a good duet—Kelly Clarkson agreed to partner with Dolly and the rest, as they say is, Herstory.

Success of the 9 to 5 Franchise

  • 9 to 5 was one of the top-grossing films with an all-female lead–the film earned well over $103 million dollars worldwide.
  • 9 to 5 was adapted as a major TV network sitcom, which ran for three seasons.
  • 9 to 5, the song, was written & performed by the 1980 film’s co-star Dolly Parton, and went #1 on the U.S. Country Singles chart, the Adult Contemporary chart, and the Billboard Hot 100, and earned an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Awards nominations that resulted in two Grammy wins for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • In 1982, the 9 to 5 TV Series based on the original movie aired on ABC from March 25, 1982, to October 27, 1983, and in first-run syndication from September 13, 1986 to March 26, 1988.
  • The first year of the 9 to 5 TV Series starred Rita Moreno, Rachel Dennison (Dolly’s sister) and Valerie Curtin.
  • In 2008 9 to 5 was adapted into an award-winning musical having its Broadway premiere on April 7, 2009.
  • In 2019, an updated version of the 9 to 5 Musical (including some MeToo references) opened on the West End to great reviews.
  • The 9 to 5 Musical is currently on a UK National tour, recently opened in Australia, and a US Tour in planned in the fall.
  • Still Working 9 to 5 includes a new duet rendition of the Dolly’s hit song 9 to 5 recorded by Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson. The new 9 to 5 single has been licensed EXCLUSIVELY for Still Working 9 to 5 documentary and is being released on Sept 9.