It takes one look at a movie or TV screen to realize that women—particularly women of color, LGBT women and women over the age of 45—are under-represented in the entertainment industry. Luckily, many of them are done with tolerating this inequality and started to empower women not just in their own industry. They are shaping the future with their voices, foundations, and artistry.
Meryl Streep isn’t shy about using her voice and name as one of the world’s most respected actresses to speak her mind. She is famous for giving amazing and driven speeches about gender equality and wage gap between her male co stars. The beloved actress has long fought for gender inequality in all areas of the business. Streep also funded a screenwriting lab for women writers over 40, and made comments over the course of the year calling out the lack of female film critics as well as the lack of female protagonists in the movies.
Viola Davis made history as the first black woman to win the Emmy for lead actress in a drama, but the accomplishment still has not sunk in and she still faces issues of pay inequality.
Davis was not afraid to talk about her own #MeToo experiences and the inequality women of color continue to face in media. She believes that, to truly be effective, the #MeToo movement needs to fully embrace women of color, claiming that there often were small numbers of women of color on the #metoogatheirngs. It just shows that black women are still afraid to come forward and express themselves. Davis also spoke openly about her own struggles to get complicated roles and stated that people of color, in general, are often given minor roles in movies.
Feminist and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has spoken out countless times about gender equality. The wage gap is among the many issues she addressed in her speeches over the last couple of years. Watson launched her gender equality campaign, HeForShe, back in 2014, introducing the initiative in a speech at the UN Headquarters. She has remained persistent and strong in her fight for gender equality, famously saying in 2015: "If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist." She sure is one hell of an example of how voice and influence as a young woman in the entertainment business can make change in the world.
Writer, producer, and director Shonda Rhimes has called out the movie and TV industry several times for its inability to recognize the achievements of women in the field. Race and gender are extremely important to her, so she fights for the racial and gender equality via her influence in TV world and media. Shonda also believes that Black, Asian or gay characters in TV shows are always limited by stereotypes and that those characters almost never fully develop. That’s why she is constantly fighting for the inclusion of more than one different race character per show.
There are few artists today who have strongly promoted the message of female empowerment through their entire musical careers. This is what makes Beyoncé an icon. Her mark on the world is evident in the thousands of women she has helped feel seen through her powerful lyrics, business savvy and artistry. No matter what album you listen to, you'll hear her singing about female empowerment. Just like every woman in the world, Beyoncé's definition of empowerment grew up along with her. She is influencing generations of young girls to fight for their rights and their acknowledgment by men.
We have to thank all these remarkable women who are leading the way of social and world change. They are celebrity warriors who are inspiring thousands of women across the planet to raise their voice and contribute to making world a better place. With their help and influence, we are certain that gender equality rights will be recognized.