9 to 5 movie Jane Fonda Lily Tomlin Dolly Parton

The History Behind Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”

If you haven’t heard our big news yet, we’ve announced that we’ll be hosting an exclusive virtual event with none other than Dolly Parton for International Women’s Day this year! Naturally, our excitement has been monumental, and it’s led us to celebrating and learning even more about all things Dolly these last few weeks.

We’re digging deeper behind the history of Dolly’s hit song “9 to 5”. Dolly wrote and performed “9 to 5” for the 1980 comedy movie 9 to 5 starring Dolly alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. It’s hard to not instantly hum/sing the tune when you see 9 to 5 written anywhere or said by anyone – now that is stellar branding! The iconic movie follows 3 working women who live out their fantasies of getting even and overthrowing the company’s “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss, played by Dabney Coleman. Dolly received an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations for her work, winning her the awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.

For a time, the song became something of an anthem for office workers. Deep at its roots however, Dolly’s infamous song is a powerful anthem for women entrepreneurs. And how could it not be? Just the opening words alone inspire all kinds of gumption:

Well, I tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen,
Pour myself a cup of ambition
Yawn and stretch and try to come to life.

We’ve all certainly been there! The chorus is when the entrepreneurial spirit that Dolly is channeling really comes to life:

Working 9 to 5, you’ve got passion and a vision
‘Cause it’s hustlin’ time, a whole new way to make a livin’
Gonna change your life, do somethin’ that gives it meanin’
With a website that is worthy of your dreamin’

Did you know that both the song and the movie owe their titles to 9to5.org, an organization founded in 1973 with the aim of bringing about fair pay and equal treatment for women in the workplace? 9to5 members have been on the frontlines, working for economic security for all women—particularly women of color—for the past 45 years. Their solution is the power of participation—the power of women working TOGETHER to solve these problems. As 9to5 puts it – “Equal pay, equal participation, equal power—it’s our answer and it’s time.”  

Another great reminder that astounding things can happen when we empower and inspire each other.


Ready to celebrate International Women’s Day with us, along with the incredible Dolly Parton and James Patterson? Get your tickets today!