If anyone is uniquely equipped to educate the public on the difficulties of finding good roles for women, it's Meryl Streep. At the 2015 Women in the World Summit, Jon Stewart interviewed the acting legend as part of a panel on women in film that also included Selma director Ava DuVernay and producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Streep explained that good roles for women are hard to come by because history has favored the male protagonist.
"From the time we're little girls," she said, "we read all of literature, you know, all of history. It's really about boys, most of it. But I can feel more like Peter Pan than Tinkerbell.... I wanted to be Tom Sawyer, not Becky."
Streep went on to say that male audiences' difficulty empathizing with a female protagonist comes from this historical bias. It's already hard to argue against that point, but when a 19-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner says it, it's pretty much impossible.