Crowds swarmed the Grand Palais at Cannes on Saturday, trying to catch a glimpse of Salma Hayek, Cate Blanchett, and the other 80 women taking a stand on the red carpet. They were there to protest the lack of gender equality at the festival in a group of women deliberately numbering 82—to represent the 82 women who’ve directed films at the festival since 1947.
Hayek said it just wasn’t enough.
“I think that we talk a lot,” she said at a Kering-Variety Women in Motion event, “but yesterday, this image, yes, it looked like we were a lot, but we were such a small number.”
— Variety (@Variety) May 13, 2018
Hayek has an especially personal reason for wanting this gender inequality and imbalance of power to change. While making Frida in 2002—which got her a best actress Oscar nomination—she alleges she was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein: "The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, 'I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.'"
She wrote about that experience in the New York Times last year, as did Lupita Nyong'o, who claimed Weinstein harassed her in 2011. "Harvey led me into a bedroom—his bedroom," Nyong'o wrote, "and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe." The disgraced movie mogul publicly denied both women’s claims, despite having ignored numerous testimonies from other women.
Hayek said she believed he picked out her and Nyong'o's accounts for one reason. "He only responded to two women. Two women of colour," she said. "We are the easiest to get discredited." (It should be noted that Weinstein's team has issued other denials: including one in response to Rose McGowan's allegations of rape, and another regarding Brit Marling's allegations of sexual harassment. Some outlets observed, though, that Weinstein's denial of Nyong'o's claim came after silence about earlier stories issued by white women.)
While urging women that “now is the time to take action” to redress the imbalance of power, she said that as a producer herself, she was working hard to put women both in front of and behind the camera, but can’t find enough female writers and directors.
Another big problem that keeps women either down or simply out of the industry is, of course, pay disparity. But, Hayek warned, “It’s going to take a while,” comparing the situation to wanting to lose 20 kilograms in a day. “It doesn’t work,” she joked, “believe me—I’ve tried it.” The problem is, she said, “before, we were in an inertia of acceptance…we should have been angrier sooner; we should have come together sooner.”
But she has a great solution to pay disparity: Male actors could take a pay cut to make things even. “Time’s up,” she said. “You had a good run, but it is time now to be generous with the actresses. If actors ask such inflated fees, it will leave nothing for actresses. If the movie’s budget is $10 million, the actor has to understand if he’s making $9.7 million, it’s going to be hard for equality.” Hayek also said that it’s an “exciting time” for men, because while “the predators are hiding,” men have the “beautiful” opportunity to rethink what it means to be a man.
Hayek wants to set an example in both her work and her words. The bottom line of her message was this: “Let’s show them what we can do.”
This article originally appeared on elle.com