Lena Dunham opened up The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment breakfast by thanking women for “brilliantly and stylishly cleaning up the mess that Hollywood has made of equality and diversity” on Wednesday.
She added that while other women her age fantasized about hanging out with pop stars, “my fantasy has always been a room full of Hollywood power bitches enjoying breakfast food,” she said.
Dunham, who has emerged as a vocal feminist at the helm of her show Girls, said that the tenor of the recent conversation about equality in the entertainment industry is growing more urgent, reaching a “fever pitch” this year.
“It’s forcing studios to answer uncomfortable questions, white male directors to take a hand mirror to their own privilege, and the industry as a whole to wonder just where along the line we forgot to be as progressive as we think we are,” Dunham said.
The solution for problems plaguing the industry, such as the wage gap and lack of diversity in leadership positions, lies in women supporting each other and younger generations, she said. And they should do more than just tell the stories of women, people of color and LGBTQ people — they should also hire them for the jobs “historically accepted for being for white dudes.”
“I am not advocating for a world where women erase men from the workplace, as pleasureable as that may be for me on certain days,” Dunham added. “I am advocating for all of us here to use our resources, and yes our power, to turn this around as a team.”
She described how the writer Norah Ephron had helped her and asked the audience to “reach out a hand the way Nora did to me when I was 24 years old and utterly terrified.”