She Works Hard for the Money

by Keasi Smith

During the 1970s and 1980s, the number of women in the United States labor force soared. Since this immersion into the workforce, women have tackled a number of issues, including equal pay, workplace harassment and working around family-career interruptions. Cinema in the 1980s reflected these struggles with films such as 9 to 5 (1980), Baby Boom (1987) and Working Girl (1988). Even now these movies feel fresh, because even though workplace culture and policies have improved tremendously since their debut, there is still progress to be made.


9 to 5: Toxic Workplace Environments

A comedy starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 illustrates an adverse work environment where they are subjected to sexist remarks and sexual harassment as well as denied promotions based on their gender. After kidnapping their boss, the women seize control of the company and implement equal pay, flexible hours, a job-sharing program and a daycare center. Almost four decades later, full-time female workers make only 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And while many companies have implemented sexual harassment policies it has been harder to stomp out more subtle, everyday slights and gender expectations. Besides campaigning for women in the workplace through legislation and the implementation of better workplace policies, you can shut down sexism in the workplace by speaking up when you feel you aren