‘9to5’ documentary: 10 Boston secretaries started a movement for women’s workplace rights

9to5 Cleveland holds an action in protest of National City Bank. Photo by Steve Cagan.

In the 1980 film “9 to 5,” Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin portrayed three office workers who were constantly degraded by their male co-workers. But “9 to 5” is more than an iconic film with an iconic song. 

In the 1970s, 10 women working at Harvard University launched an organization called 9to5 to gain rights for women in the workplace. Through fierce activism, they built a movement that spread across the country. 

They were the inspiration for Parton’s movie. Now a new documentary tells their story. It’s called “9to5: The Story of a Movement.” It premieres on PBS’s Independent Lens on February 1, 2021 at 10/9c (check local listings) and will also be available to stream on the PBS Video app.