LOS ANGELES – As a symbol of transformation, Salma Hayek gave a painting of a butterfly to the women honored at Elle magazine's "Women in Hollywood" celebration on Monday.
The 49-year-old Mexican star, who was introduced by actress Zoe Saldaña, called for diversity and equality in Hollywood and said that this generation of women can change the industry.
Elle's editor-in-chief Robbie Myers said Hollywood's vast gender disparities — 95 percent of studio movies are made by men — prove such nights are still needed. The annual event recognizes women for their accomplishments in the entertainment industry.
"Did you know the lowest paid male actor on the Forbes list was still ranked above the highest paid female actor on the same list?" she said.
Also honored were Ava DuVernay, Amy Schumer, Carey Mulligan, Alicia Vikander and Kate Winslet. Dakota Johnson also received the Calvin Klein Spotlight Award and Gena Rowlands was honored with the L’Oreal Paris Legend Award.
Mary J. Blige introduced DuVernay, who illustrated the gender gap with an anecdote about a fellow director. They both had features at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and were taking on their first big-budget projects.
"I got a big movie," she remembered telling him, talking about the $20 million budget for "Selma."
He said he had gotten a big movie, too. It was "Jurassic World."
"Now... he'll go off and do 'Star Wars,' and I'm happy for him," DuVernay said of her friend Colin Trevorrow. "But think about the women who were also in that class at Sundance 2012."
Honoree Mulligan said that until she made her latest film, "Suffragette," in which Meryl Streep appears, the best parts for women were always "a really great female role in a story about a man."
"Imagine how many millions of women's stories there are for us to tell," Mulligan said.
Lena Dunham introduced Schumer. In describing how the comedian inspired women, Dunham said: "She's like Oprah, if Oprah squashed her boobs together more."
Schumer dedicated Anne Sexton's poem "Admonitions to a Special Person" to the audience as she accepted her award.
The honorees are featured in the magazine's November issue.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.