Scarlett Johansson is a girl's girl, through and through.
So, while she's more fortunate than most, she has decided to use her voice to speak up for those who aren't often heard—particularly in regard to the gender wage gap. "Just because I'm the top-grossing actress of all time does not mean I'm the highest paid," she tells Marie Claire's March issue. "I've had to fight for everything that I have. It's such a fickle and political industry."
Johansson discussed her experiences publicly before, which made her initially uncomfortable. "Some people felt I should talk about my personal struggle in order to shed a spotlight on the greater issue. Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but I assumed it was obvious that women in all positions struggle for equality. It's always an uphill battle and fight," the actress explains. "My experience with my close female friends and family is that the struggle is real for everybody."
"Everyone has been discriminated against or harassed," she adds. "Sexism is real."
So, too, is racism. Ironically, Johansson came under fire after she was cast in Ghost in the Shell, a live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime franchise. Fans and Asian-American actresses cited Johansson's casting as yet another example of Hollywood whitewashing. "I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person," Johansson says. "Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive."
Instead, Johansson says, she saw the role as an opportunity to tell a good story. "Having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity," she says. "Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders."
Given her clout, Johansson plans to keep speaking out about causes that matter to her, like Planned Parenthood. "[I believe] that it is really important to hear people in various positions of power voice their opinions, their story. Why not? Why can't I have the voice? Why can't I use my platform? What's the point of having it if you don't use it? If you don't want to get involved, please, the noise is loud enough," the actress says. "But if you've got something to say, say it."
Marie Claire's March issue is on newsstands Feb. 14.