The actress, recently nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Imitation Game, has criticised the one-sided nature of the industry and queried why the male journey is so consistently prioritised.
“Where are the female stories?” she said to Violet magazine. “Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that? … I think the pay [gap in the entertainment business] is a huge thing, but I’m actually more concerned over the lack of our voices being heard.”
In The Imitation Game, Knightley played mathematician Joan Clarke, who proved instrumental in the Enigma project during the second world war, and her unique journey was one that Knightley described as rare within Hollywood films.
“I think it is interesting that for women in film, the problems they face are generally put into the sphere of home and family and not into the workplace,” she continued.
“I don’t know what happened through the 1980s, 90s and noughties that took feminism off the table, that made it something that women weren’t supposed to identify with and were supposed to be ashamed of,” she said. “Feminism is about the fight for equality between the sexes, with equal respect, equal pay and equal opportunity. At the moment we are still a long way off that.”
Knightley, who worked with Lynn Shelton on Say When and Lorene Scafaria for Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, has previously discussed the importance of working with female directors, saying they help her to avoid a “lovable, soft version of what the female sex has to be”.
She can next be seen in action adventure Everest, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin.
This article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st March 2015 16.30 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010