Meryl Streep Calls for More Roles for Women

Meryl Streep might be a living legend, but that doesn't mean she's off the hook. In fact, it apparently makes her feel even more responsible to help her compatriots—and by compatriots, we do mean other women. Speaking at the 2012 Women in Film Crystal + Lucy awards in Los Angeles, where she presented a prize to "The Help" star Viola Davis, Streep called it like she sees it: the Hollywood film industry's failure to recruit female visionaries is one of the reasons for the huge losses racked up by big tent-pole failures ("John Carter," we're talking to you).

As reported by The Guardian, the three-time Oscar-winner mused, "In this room, we are very familiar with these dreadful statistics that detail the shocking under-representation of women in our business. [Women make up] 7-10% of directors, producers, writers and cinematographers in any given year." (Yeah, that's not so much.) Streep continued, "This, in spite of the fact that in the last five years, five little movies aimed at women have earned over $1.6 billion: 'The Help,' 'The Iron Lady,' 'Bridesmaids,' 'Mamma Mia,' and 'The Devil Wears Prada.'"

So, why the huge disparity? Maybe women only have themselves to blame. "Alice Walker said that the most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don't have any. That's like [hearing] that women don't get raises because they don't ask for them. It's incredible."

We're getting the feeling from this little speech that perhaps Streep thinks it high time the ladies take the power back. After all, maybe the boys would just go along with it. She explained, "Let's talk about 'The Iron Lady.' It cost $14m to make it and brought in $114m. Pure profit! So why? Why? Don't they want the money?" Good point, Meryl. Good point.