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Meryl Streep lobbies for gender parity in Hollywood

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Meryl Streep is playing real-life activist Emmeline Pankhurst in the upcoming film Suffragette, but she’s long been an advocate for equality off-screen. Just in the past year, she famously cheered Patricia Arquette’s call for equal pay at the Oscars, called on Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment and is funding a screenwriting lab for women over 40.

In a new interview with London’s Time Out, the Oscar winner was asked about sexism in Hollywood, and though she tactfully identified herself as a humanist rather than a feminist, she didn’t shrink from offering suggestions.

“Men should look at the world as if something is wrong when their voices predominate,” she said. “They should feel it. People at agencies and studios, including the parent boards, might look around the table at the decision-making level and feel something is wrong if half their participants are not women. Because our tastes are different, what we value is different. Not better, different.”

The Oscar-winner also pointed out a double standard when it comes to the annoying questions she gets asked in interviews that never are asked of her male peers

“‘You often play very strong women… Why do you choose…? Blah blah blah.’ No man is ever asked: ‘You often play very strong men. Why?’ It would be an absurd question,” she added.

When asked what lessons suffragettes could teach people today, Streep replied, “Don’t give up or give in in the face of patronizing ridicule, amused disdain, or being ignored.”

Suffragette opens in theaters Oct. 23. You can read Streep’s full interview at Time Out.

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