The 33-year-old has penned an impassioned essay calling out the double standards she’s personally experience in the entertainment industry, recalling a particularly disturbing incident when a producer threatened her because she refused to pose semi-naked to promote an unnamed film she was working on.
Taking to husband Ashton Kutcher's website, A Plus on Wednesday, the talented actress called for change.
“I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to,” the mother-of-one revealed, under the stirring headline, which read: You’ll Never Work In This Town Again… If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere.
Taking a stand against the producer’s intimidation tactics, the star pushed back.
“I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said "no." And guess what? The world didn't end.”
“The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. What this producer may never realise is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace,” the actress said.
Hoping to demonstrate that it’s OK to say no, Mila says women have been conditioned to believe “that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don't want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a 'bitch.' So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming.”
Proud husband Ashton took to Facebook to share his wife's essay and rally behind her crusade.
"I'm so proud of my wife for making a stand. The effort to overcome gender bias is a battle in which we all have a role to play," Ashton, who is about to welcome his second child with Mila, beamed.
Mila also referenced the worrying results of a recent study on the pay gap.
“The pay gap is closing at such a slow rate that it will be 136 years before women are paid equally to men. 136 years. And the pay gap is but one clear quantification of the acute undervaluing of the contributions of women in the workplace.”
Fed up with being “insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored”, Mila took matters into her own hands.
“I formed a production company with three amazing women. We have been hustling to develop quality television shows with unique voices and perspectives.”“Since our inception, we have been lucky enough to partner with incredible producers, male and female, who have treated us as true equals and partners.”
WATCH: Mila's hilarious rant about the phrase "we're pregnant!" Post continues after the video...
As the Ukrainian-born star began pitching her concepts, she was startled to learn her identity was being diminished to just the wife of Ashton Kutcher and a mother.“The typical follow-up emails were sent to executives at this network. In this email chain, this producer chose to email the following: ‘And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton's wife and baby momma!!!’”
“This is the entirety of his email. Factual inaccuracies aside, he reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team's) significant creative and logistical contributions,” she explained.
Mila and her team terminated their involvement on that particular project.
In speaking out, the actress hopes she can empower other women to make a stand.
"If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere. I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table,” she explained.
"I am also fortunate that I have the platform to talk about this experience in the hope of bringing one more voice to the conversation so that women in the workplace feel a little less alone and more able to push back for themselves."
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