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Emma Thompson: I was always paid less than my male counterparts

The actress has also spoken of the ‘honour’ of being made a dame.

Dame Emma Thompson has praised the move to publish salaries to highlight gender pay inequalities as it reveals how women have been treated as “second-class citizens”.

The 59-year-old also said she feels more “powerful” now than she did in her younger years, because she has stopped caring about what others think of her.

The actress told Good Housekeeping magazine that she was “always paid less” than her male counterparts in the past.

Publishing figures is a forensic way of looking at how women are second-class citizens and I really appreciate that because it’s not emotional Dame Emma Thompson

On the issue being openly discussed in 2018, which saw businesses in the UK with more than 250 employees required to report data on their mean and median gender pay gaps, she said: “Publishing figures is the first step.

“It’s a forensic way of looking at how women are second-class citizens and I really appreciate that because it’s not emotional.

“This is the fact: this person does the same work for less money, and that’s just wrong.”

Dame Emma advised women to make money in order to remain independent.

“Earn your own living and keep your own money,” the Oscar winner said.

“It’s your cash and you should always decide what to do with it.”

The acclaimed actress, who has starred in films including Howard’s End, Sense And Sensibility, The Remains Of The Day and Love Actually, was made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

She said: “It’s a huge honour. I’ve always wanted to refer to myself as a dame. Small D. Dame with a capital is even more thrilling.

“I was, however, disappointed it didn’t come with a castle! I plan to go on being very difficult just in case anyone was wondering if it might shut me up.”

Of getting older and approaching 60, she said: “I’ve never felt so powerful and so calm.

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Dame Emma Thompson (Nick Haddow/Good Housekeeping)

“I just don’t care, because I’m too old. It’s such a great feeling. You don’t get to judge me. I’m my own person, I don’t care what you think.

“I put as much thought as I’m sure you do into decisions in life, I try to balance stuff out, I don’t get too wound up or bruised about the mistakes that I make, I’m not a perfectionist and I’m never too hard on myself.

“It’s all very well saying ‘I don’t care what anybody thinks’, but the most important thing is not to care about the little voice in your head.

“That’s the voice you need to be able to ignore and that’s the voice I’ve learnt to ignore over the last 20 years.”

The September issue of Good Housekeeping is available from August 1.

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