Somewhere along the line, 30 became the top of the hill for women. With every decade, that age gets smaller and smaller. Salma Hayek and several other women at Variety’s Power of Women event decided to take a verbal stand against this very present problem. Although this problem can be noted in several walks of life, Hayek concentrated on the entertainment industry during her speech. It is the area she has the most experience in, but it’s also the area where she can draw a clear line to the problem.
Variety reported that women take up over half of the industry and have for quite some time, but Salma disclosed that they only make 10 percent of the income. An unacceptable statistic to any working force, let alone one where women make up 66 percent of the industry. “We’re the generation that said, ‘We’re not going away at 30.’ They can’t ignore us anymore,” Hayek said during her impassioned speech. The quote has been regenerated and shared on social media since it was spoken. It’s something that has resonated with many.
Relocating from Mexico to Hollywood, Hayek said that she was nervous about the work she may not be able to find. Seeing the industry flooded with women did help to ease that fear, but it was the general mindset that she found lacking. 49 year-old Hayek has spent 20 years in the business and 20 years as an activist for women; she’s still waiting for a change to occur. Salma began her career in romantic comedies, but began to take more serious roles as she adapted to fit the change in her and the change that has naturally happened in women over time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see Hollywood adapting along with her and the many other women 30 and over. Not only have women changed, but it’s time for a change so says Hayek. According to Access Hollywood, she told the crowd at the event, “We are talking about it, we are looking for solutions. We are the generation that is going to experience the difference, the transformation.”
Access Hollywood also gives a short list of women in the industry who have recently spoken out about the same thing. These women are not just speaking to the big (or small) screen. They are looking universally, across the board. While talking with BBC News this week, Maryl Streep was quoted as saying, “It’s not just show business; it is in every single enterprise…Women are graduating from film schools, law schools and medical schools in equal numbers as men but they are shut out when they get to the leadership positions.”
Incidentally, Chime for Change is an organization that Hayek, along with Gucci and Beyonce, have founded to support not only women, but girls. To give girls a chance to turn into strong women. According to Change’s website, “CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls and women around the world […] to promote Education, Health and Justice.” This is what Hayek was being nominated for at the luncheon. This is what Hayek is eager to change, and so are many others like her.
Hayek’s passion for the cause has her speaking out to crowds, on social media and from behind the camera. Recently, she took part in the Month of Action Campaign (where her challenge was to stop criticizing people for an entire day), #62MillionGirls campaign and she was even able to speak alongside Jordan’s Queen Rania at the Global Citizen Festival according to her Twitter account.
Perhaps her most poignant cause to date is something that she classifies as “her baby.”
Women are not going to go anywhere, and certainly not because they have hit a certain age point. Speak on, Salma, speak on.
[Image credit to Jason Merritt/Getty Images]