Reese Witherspoon's been clapping back at sexism in the entertainment industry for her entire 25-year long career -- and she's far from being done.
In a moving, hilarious speech last night (November 9) at the 25th annual Glamour Women Of The Year Awards at Carnegie Hall, Witherspoon addressed her experience dealing with gender-based adversity in Hollywood, telling the assembled crowd that women shouldn't be afraid to be ambitious, and they certainly shouldn't wait around for opportunities if they are able to make them happen for themselves.
"I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because inevitably I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy, and she says, 'What do we do now?!'" she said, calling the trope her "most hated question." After all, as she pointed out, "Do you know any woman in any crisis situation who has absolutely no idea what to do?"
When Witherspoon brought up to studio executives that she didn't think there were enough female-led movies in development, she was met with "blank stares" -- so she decided to start her own production company, Pacific Standard Films, which brought us the critically acclaimed "Gone Girl" and "Wild," and is currently working on 25 more movies and three television shows that feature female leads.
But the problem, she says, is bigger than just how women in entertainment are represented; it's endemic across the entire working world.
"I think we are in a culture crisis in every field," she said. "In every industry, women are underrepresented and underpaid in leadership positions. Under 5 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women. Only 19 percent of Congress is women. No wonder we don’t have the health care we deserve or paid family leave or public access to early childhood education. That really worries me. How can we expect legislation or our needs to be served if we don't have equal representation?
"I urge each one of you to ask yourselves: 'What do we do now?'" she concluded. "That’s a big question. What is it in life that you think you can’t accomplish? Or what is it that people have said that you cannot do? Wouldn’t it feel really good to prove them all wrong?"