It’s been just over 40 years since the comedy 9 to 5 premiered to unexpected success in the US. Meanwhile, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bill to Congress. A new documentary ties these two milestones together in an engaging exploration of the making of that pioneering film and its connection to the women’s rights movement of the 1970s through today. Though there were 20 million women in the workforce in those days, the documentary notes, stories about female office workers were rare in popular culture. The time was ripe for the project, which cast its leads before it was even written.
Insights like this will captivate fans of the original movie, as will bloopers – including at least one filmed scene that got (fortuitously) edited out. It puts all of this in context to show, as the title alludes, that four decades have still not been enough to level the playing field for working women in real life. But, giving the documentary added relevance, new momentum under President Biden and Virginia’s ratification of the ERA in 2020 has galvanized attention. On Feb. 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first full committee hearing on the ERA since 1984.