Patricia Arquette and Joss Whedon spoke out about gender inequality at the UN Women USNC LA Media Summit

Patricia Arquette made waves for her moving Oscar speech about wage inequality back in 2015, and now she’s back in the spotlight, taking on the topic again.

Arquette took the stage after winning an award at the inaugural UN Women USNC LA Media Summit at YouTube Space LA last night. HeForShe — a United Nations campaign dedicated to gender equality launched in 2014 with the help of Emma Watson — honored Arquette for her continued work in bolstering women’s rights.

Arquette currently has a petition on urging men and women alike to support the effort to officially pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which was first proposed in 1923 and never signed into law as part of the U.S. Constitution. The petition currently has 107,350 online signatures of the necessary 150,000.

“Who says the gender wage gap won’t close in next 40 years?” Arquette said in her speech. “That’s pathetic and that’s not necessary. We can make change come very fast, if we just demand it.”

At the event, TheWrap reported that Arquette shared a personal story of her difficulties as a struggling single young mother and having to abstain from taking pain medicine as her wisdom teeth grew in. She told the audience she needed to wait to find a place that would perform teeth removal on the cheap, and persevered without the drugs in order to continue to healthily nurse her son.

She used this as a launching point to discuss how economic insecurity often leads to women remaining in bad relationships, for fear or inability to be financially independent.

“There’s a subconscious thing that happens — sometimes women stay in a relationship because it seems there’s more economic stability,” she said at the event. “We know that in America 10,000 women every day are turned away from domestic abuse shelters — the number one reason they cite is economic insecurity.”

Director Josh Whedon was also given an award, and told TheWrap that he is a self-proclaimed feminist thanks to a college girlfriend who inspired him to be a gender equality crusader.

Congrats to both Arquette and Whedon for continuing to be outspoken advocates of gender equality and female empowerment.

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