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EEC: Documentary Studies

A conversation with you about “9to5: The Story of a Movement”

The Econ Extra Credit Team Feb 18, 2021
Heard on:

We loved hearing your thoughts and reactions to this month’s documentary selection, “9to5: The Story of a Movement.” So many of you shared personal stories about your experiences as young women living during the period covered in the film — or as professional women fighting similar challenges in your fields.

  • Patty L. writes, “When I entered middle school, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. Our skirts had to land an inch below our knees; they sent you to the office to be measured and if your skirt wasn’t long enough, they sent you home. A group of us protested and with the support of some of our (male) teachers, by the second half of the year, girls could wear pants.”
  • Aimee M. writes, “As someone on the very front edge of the baby boom, it brought back all sorts of memories of gender and labor discrimination.”
  • Suzanne H. writes, “After graduate school, I started my career at an Ivy League university where some of the tenured faculty described me as the girl who was hired off the street because I was a lecturer and not a tenure-track faculty.” Suzanne went on to work for 15 years in a lab at an oil company before returning to teaching, where, she says, “I became aware that the nontenure-track faculty, who are primarily women, are in much the same place today as the clerical workers in “9to5.” They teach more, get paid less and are given less respect than their tenure-track colleagues … I would love to see more attention to this issue.”

A few of you had very personal connections to the film.

  • Juan A. writes, “My sister, Rosalinda Aguirre, was among those interviewed, along with photos and video clips of her. She was part of the Seattle unionization efforts. I have always been proud of my sister’s organizing efforts, they are long as they are varied, and her being featured as part of this historical movement added even more pride and respect for her work. ¡Viva La Causa!”
  • Sarah C. attended an early screening of the documentary at a drive-in theater in Ohio. “It’s cliché to say, ‘I laughed, I cried, I learned,’ but it’s so true in this case. … [T]his is not a time in our distant past. This is modern history, this is barely history,” said Sarah, adding: “The drive-in equivalent of a standing ovation: long, loud, joyous leaning on your horn. Our cars sang for these women, and this movie.”

Thanks so much for writing in! During the last week of February, we’ll preview our March selection for this “Econ Extra Credit” documentary film series.

Got a documentary recommendation you’d like us to consider? Email us at

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