The shadow of Harvey Weinstein continues to loom over Hollywood as accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault continue to make headlines on what seems like a daily basis.
As a Hollywood veteran who’s worked with Weinstein (previously stating that she was unaware of the allegations against him), Meryl Streep feels the time is right for women to band together and combat the kind of sexism that allowed the alleged abuses committed by Weinstein and his ilk to go unchecked for a long as they did.
“The thing about Harvey Weinstein is that he is sort of the most gargantuan example of a kind of disrespect that permeates every industry, every enterprise,” Streep said during a discussion with feminist icon Gloria Steinem during the Massachusetts Conference for Women on Thursday, reports People.
“I’m not sure why. I have a lot of theories — maybe it’s in response to the women’s movement. Maybe it’s in fear of the women movement. But these abuses are about dominance,” she explained.
“I think I’m very hopeful that the world is changing. I think in this world now of opportunity there are so many great opportunities for women to enter different jobs, different enterprises,” she added. “But to rise, to get up to that top layer which they kind of still keep for themselves. There are always three women on a board, and then there are nine or 12 or 14 other people. Equal means equal. And if it starts at the top, none of these shenanigans would have filtered down and been tolerated.”
As Streep pointed out, inequality in Hollywood isn’t a massive conspiracy that can be overthrown, but a pervasive attitude that needs to be changed.
“Part of the problem is that there’s no horrible plot at the top of Hollywood not to keep people of colour or women out of leadership positions,” said Streep. “It’s that ‘like hires like.’ White hires white. A guy who wears his baseball cap backwards hires a guy who wears his baseball cap backwards. So we have to encourage the people who are currently in power, who are of one gender, to open the door.”
In that vein, Streep revealed that she’s planning to band together with some other top actresses to issue a “non-negotiable” list of demands to movie studios that she hopes will encourage equality.
“Right now, I’m getting together with a bunch of actresses that you know very well, and we’re all sort of going to make a set of non-negotiable demands,” she said. “We’re after 50/50 by 2020.”