Reese Witherspoon criticised Hollywood executives for making movies about helpless females during her acceptance speech at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Monday night (09Nov15).
The Legally Blonde star co-founded production company Pacific Standard in 2012 to create female-driven projects after discovering very few big studios were working on films led by women.
Reese was honoured for producing hit 2014 movies Gone Girl and Wild during the prizegiving at New York's Carnegie Hall, where she was presented with the Hollywood Hero award by Goldie Hawn.
In her speech, she recalled the line she hates most in films, saying, "In the time of crisis, the woman turns to the man and asks him, 'What are we gonna do now?'
"Have you ever met a woman in crisis who doesn't know what to do?... Why do people have prejudiced opinions against women who want to accomplish things? Why is that perceived as a negative? Like (Legally Blonde character) Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated."
She decided to use her production company to make films which show powerful, ambitious women in the hope it will create change in all industries.
"Films with women at the centre are not a public service project. They are a big-time, bottom line-enhancing, money-making commodity," she added.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I think we are in a cultural crisis in every field, in every industry. Women are underrepresented and underpaid in leadership positions... No wonder we don't have the healthcare we deserve or paid family leave or public access to early childhood education. And that really worries me. How can we expect legislation with our rights and needs being preserved if we don't have equal representation?"
Reese asked the women in the audience, "Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to believe in our own ability? To be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change."
The actress also joked that if comedienne Amy Schumer starred in her own biopic, Reese would be cast as Amy's grandmother even though she is only five years older.
Other winners at the ceremony included Caitlyn Jenner, Victoria Beckham, Misty Copeland and the U.S. women's soccer team.