By Kara Warner
March 19, 2016 at 04:54 PM EDT
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Like many women working in Hollywood and the film industry at large, actress Natalie Portman knows that her opportunities are better than most, but that we have a long way to go to gender-neutral equal opportunity and pay.

“For myself I feel excited about the opportunities I have, but I am concerned that there’s not more female directors,” Portman tells PEOPLE, speaking in support of her new film Knight of Cups. “It’s a big deal and it feels cultural because living in France the past few years [with husband Benjamin Millepied and son, Aleph, 4], the entire young generation of directors in France is women and it feels really interesting that that isn’t happening here as much.

“We still have a lot more work to do,” she adds. “I think that the conversation has definitely become more widespread which is very important, but the problem is just as severe, actually probably more severe because it’s been so long that it hasn’t changed. There’s a long ways to go but it’s great that we’re having the conversation.”

Knight of Cups is playing in select theaters.