Reese Witherspoon is big on female representation in cinema, as she explained during a Produced By panel in Los Angeles. The Oscar winner has made a concentrated move towards production in recent years, having worked on films like Gone Girl and Wild, but she finds that it’s a constant struggle to find projects with well-rounded, interesting parts for women.

Reese Witherspoon
Witherspoon has very strict standards for the kinds of films she produces.

Still, Witherspoon explained why she thinks it’s just a reasonable expectation for filmmakers: “Women make up 50 percent of the population, so we should make up 50 percent of the [roles and stories] in movies. It’s not a crazy thought, it’s just a representation of reality."

It makes sense in theory, and yet Witherspoon can recall struggling to find this type of role in the past. When her husband Jim Toth, who is an agent, suggested she start buying books herself and making movies out of them she decided to go for it.

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“I was just reading scripts, and the scripts were sort of diminishing. I just started to notice they were making less movies for women, and that meant less parts for women,” she said, according to the Belfast Telegraph. “We [she and her producer partner Bruna Papandrea] are looking for great female parts. If she’s the girlfriend or the wife, probably don’t send it to us.”

Reese also revealed how she thinks opportunities for women can be improved in Hollywood. For her, it’s all about getting in there at the earliest opportunity.

“I feel like it starts very, very young. Women aren’t getting those critical internships when they’re 18, 19, 20," she said. “The best way to learn how to make a movie or a television show is to be standing on set.”