Dolly Parton Is Never Afraid to Ask for More Money: ‘I Thought I Was Worth Something’

Dolly Parton is one of country music’s brightest stars and has been for decades. She has fans from far beyond the genre and has expanded her career to multiple different areas. Parton has been able to accomplish all of this through her tenacity and unwavering belief in herself. 

A black and white photo of Dolly Parton wearing a white shirt with rhinestones. She holds a guitar and stands in front of a microphone.
Dolly Parton | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Dolly Parton starred in ‘9 to 5’

In 1980, Parton made her film debut in 9 to 5, a comedy in which three overworked women seek revenge against their bigoted boss. The film, which was fairly radical for its time, championed women in the workplace. This is a cause that Parton has always supported. In a 2019 interview, she explained that while she believes the film did good, there’s still work to be done.

“[That movie] did a lot of good, but evidently didn’t do enough good because we’re going to always have the same problems in the workplace with women and men,” she explained to Robin Roberts for ABC News. “I still believe that women should get paid equal and should be treated with respect. I’m all about that. And like I say, I don’t get out and have to preach it or march in the streets. I write about it.”

The country star says that she knows her worth

Just as she tries to advocate for other women, Parton is a constant champion for herself. As a woman who rose to prominence in the 1960s, she has had to work hard to establish herself and gain respect. As she’s always believed in her abilities, she says that she deserves to be paid well.

In a 1977 interview with Barbara Walters, Parton explained that while she makes decent money in country music, her hard work merits more.

“I like to think there’s more money to be made than the money I’ve been making,” Parton said. “I’ve been working too hard, for too long for too little.”

While reflecting on this video with Roberts, Parton said that she still agrees with the sentiment.

“I knew what I was supposed to do, and I thought, ‘I’m not getting paid enough,’” she said. “But that’s amazing to go back and remember that’s what I always felt in my heart, that I had something to give, and I thought I was worth something.”

She added that money is by no means the most important thing to her, but she still pushes for sufficient pay.

“It’s not all about money,” she said. “I count my blessings more than I count my money, but I need to count my money, too.”

Dolly Parton says she’ll never retire 

According to Parton, she’ll be pushing for just pay for the rest of her life. The music legend says she never wants to stop working.

“I don’t know why I’d ever want to stop,” she told The Times. “Especially after you get older, you need things to do. I’d rather wear out than rust out. You only have one life. No, I won’t retire. I might pull back if my husband’s not well or if I’m physically not well. But I’d never do it for any other reason.”

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