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Salma Hayek On Hollywood's 'Incredible Ignorance': They Don't See Women As A 'Powerful Economic Force'

Women in Hollywood get real about the appalling sexism they face in the industry.

It's been nearly a week since the American Civil Liberties Union's decision to ask federal and state organizations to investigate the lack of female directors in film and TV, and the important, and long overdue, conversation is only just getting started.

Today (May 16) at the Cannes Film Festival, Variety partnered with UN Women in support of their HeForShe campaign to host the landmark "Women in Motion" panel on gender equality in Hollywood. Moderated by Variety editor in chief Claudia Eller, the discussion included actresses Salma Hayek and Parker Posey, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and "Carol" producers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen, whose lesbian drama, starring Cate Blanchett, will premiere at the festival on Sunday.

So far, the investigation into the treatment of female directors in Hollywood have been seen as a necessary step for change in the industry, but there's been little discussion on how this will affect actors. The panel opened with a few sobering statistics, including the fact that only 4.6 percent of studio films in 2014 were directed by women -- and not one Oscar best picture nominee this year featured a female protagonist. According to Hayek, it's time for studio execs to wake up.

Posey said women's roles in Hollywood today lack depth and substance.

"Carol" producer Vachon remarked that she's so used to being patronized in Hollywood, it doesn't even bother her anymore.

Meanwhile, Hayek also opened up about her personal experiences with studios, directors and even her fellow actors. In a particularly harrowing anecdote, Hayek said one studio executive told her she could have been the biggest star in the America, but she was "born in the wrong country."

As sobering as these accounts are, we think Hollywood's days of being a boys' club are numbered.