salma hayek
Actress Salma Hayek poses during a photocall ahead of a debate "Kering Women in Motion" at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.Reuters

Salma Hayek, one of the most paramount actresses in the world reveals the problems she faced in Hollywood with issues of sexism at the Women in Motion discussion presented by the Hollywood Reporter.

The Women in Motion is a series of deep conversations with the main women in film from the 68th Cannes Film festival.

The talk began with some disappointing numbers – 4.6% of studio films in 2014 were directed by women and that not one Oscar best picture nominee this year featured a female protagonist.

Hayek, a strong supporter of women's causes, said that the box office prowess of women continues to be dismissed by studio executives who need a reality check.

"The only thing we can do is show them we are an economic force," the actress-producer-director told the Hollywood Reporter.

Hayek also addressed the fact that the female audience – which totals half of receipts are continuously ignored.

"The movie is industry is in trouble because we don't care about their movies, and they're trying to figure out why," she said.

Hayek also criticised the Hollywood tradition where leading men have contractual approval over their female co-stars, and can often call for script changes to make the female lead be more inactive.

"Most of the big stars in their contracts have approval of their leading ladies," she said.

Hayek told of an incident where an unnamed executive told her she could have been the leading woman in film in the US, but her Mexican roots and accent help her back as it would remind people of their maids.

"He said, 'You're smart, you're talented, you're beautiful. But you were born in the wrong country,'" she told Hollywood Reporter.

In terms of money Hayek agrees that money is the main motivator of the industry and the only way in which women are likely to make more money than men in Hollywood is by working within a pornographic film.

"The only kind of film where women make more money than men is porno. It's not funny," she told the Telegraph. "Our pay can never go up because we never get the opportunity to show what we can bring in revenue."

Hayek, an Oscar-nominated actress for her passion project Freida, implies that improvements will be made when high-profile executives begin to show attention and respect to the female film that actually work.

Hayek, also works as a producer and director, appeared at a UN Women panel event about film alongside actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.