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We at IPM are supporters of equal rights for everyone, and we believe that the arts should be a place where we can all have our voice heard.
In 2015 the figure for women in the arts had risen by 6% since 2002; a historical high. So to celebrate this achievement, here just some of the brilliant women in film and television who have helped pave the road to equality.
Actress and radio performer Hattie McDaniel made history, and became the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940 for her supporting role as Mammy in 'Gone With the Wind.'
A comedian, television host, actor, writer and producer, Ellen Degeneres has been an outspoken LGBTQ and women’s rights activist who has consistently used her public platform to highlight inequality.
Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie has been an icon for humanitarianism. She first become aware of the extent of the problems people around the world face when she filmed Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia in 2001, and since been using her status to fight the war for peace.
Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history, picking up the Best Supporting Actress trophy at the tender age of 10 for her role as strong-willed tomboy Addie in Paper Moon (1973).
Actress Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black, made history as the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy in an acting role. She is at the forefront of the transgender movement, and noted as a 'hero' in the LGBTQ community.
English Actress Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, has often been outspoken about issues with 'body shaming' and injustice within the entertainment business. In August 2013, Mirren was announced as one of several new models for Marks and Spencer's 'Womanism' campaign. She also testified before Congress on the importance of a new act that seeks to provide victims of the Holocaust and their families legal means so they can recover works of art looted by the Nazis.
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win Best Director at the Oscars, the Baftas and the DGA Awards in 2010 and has changed
Heralded by fans and peers for her reverberant voice in Hollywood, Jennifer has often been an influence to a younger audience, particularly when it comes to equal pay and body image.
“I’m a woman that’s living in this world of everybody telling everyone how they should look and what they should be eating and how people can lose this much weight this fast, and it just kind of overwhelms our senses. If I could just make the tiniest bit of difference in getting rid of that because it is so annoying, I would love that.”
Actress Salma Hayek ('From Dusk Till Dawn', 1996) is a an outspoken advocate on the issues of sexism in film and television. She has spoken about the idea of the current Hollywood paradigm in which leading men have contractual approval over their female co-stars, and can often call for script changes to make the female lead be more passive. '"Most of the big stars in their contracts have approval of their leading ladies," she said. "The fact that he gets a say in who he gets to kiss I find is very sexist. … And they do not like it when the female character is strong."
Whoopi Goldberg ('Sister Act', 1992) has won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony award, and in the 1990s was momentarily the highest-paid black actress in Hollywood history.
Charlize Theron has used her platform to highlight the importance of feminism in the film industry.
Calling it a “social issue”, she suggests the problems lie in society, as producers will only make movies for films that people want to see. She thinks that there needs to be a societal shift to pave the way for more female-driven movies being made. Charlize has played the female lead in films such as 'Mad Max' (2015).
These women are just a small handful who have used their voice and their platform to make a difference in the industry. Whether it's issues on equal pay, sexism, racism or body image, these are all stigmas that will affect everyone at some point in their lives, and it's important that we all use our voices to create a better and more equal world.
There has been some amazing and inspiring progress over the last 100 years and we want to hear from you, so tweet us at IPM with people in film and TV who have influenced you.
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