Salma Hayek wasn’t pulling any punches at a Cannes panel on gender equality. As part of the festival’s effort to highlight women in film, it teamed up U.N. Women for a panel discussion which featured the brilliant Hayek (who is also a film director and producer) as well as fellow actresses Parker Posey and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and the producers of the new Cate Blanchett movie Carol. When asked how to tackle gender inequality in Hollywood, Hayek said it all comes down to money. “We can’t stand as victims and say we need to make them aware of women. Because guess what? They don’t care. There’s only one thing that inspires the people and the power in the industry, and that’s money. They have to understand how powerful we are economically.” She made a forceful argument that Hollywood is “incredibly ignorant” as it constantly ignores and misunderstands women and does not recognize their talent on screen. Hayek discussed her personal experience on film sets, saying she’s seen strong female characters in scripts get “dumbed down” so as to not to outshine the leading man. Male actors are not only paid more, she contended, but they also get all the credit when a movie does well financially, and are often given the chance to veto women set to appear in their films. “Cinema undermines women’s intelligence,” she concluded. “It’s been doing it for some time now. “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is really incredible ignorant.”
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