Taraji P. Henson‘s new film role is shining a spotlight on women in the workforce.
The 48-year-old Empire star opened up about her new film What Men Want to PEOPLE editor-in-chief Jess Cagle in this week’s issue. Henson portrays sports agent Ali Davis who is given the ability to hear what men are thinking.
“Ali is a female, young lady who was raised by her dad… so she has a lot of testosterone in her,” Henson explains. “But it’s because of the way she was raised. Her father owns a boxing gym, so her hero is Muhammad Ali.”
The Oscar nominee adds, “She’s not really the most feminine female. And then she works in a world full of men.”
Henson says Ali’s story is similar to that of many women juggling their personal and professional lives.
“She has all the numbers, she has all the incredible clients, but she still doesn’t get the raises and the promotions that she deserves because she is a woman,” the actress explains.
She continues, “So you get to go into this world of most women and what we have to deal with in the workforce. Even if you don’t work for a company of all men, even if you aren’t a sports agent, even in my industry, it’s just the fight we fight.”
“We’ve been fighting forever,” Henson adds.
What Men Want, also starring Max Greenfield and Erykah Badu, opens Feb. 8.
For more from PEOPLE’s interview with Taraji P. Henson, pick up this week’s issue, on stands Friday.