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Rashida Jones on Why Hollywood Needs More Women: ‘We’re Half the F—ing Population!’

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Ben Trivett

Rashida Jones is speaking out about Hollywood’s disproportionate lack of female power players.

“I think the reason there’s any sort of discrimination is because there is a lack of representation,”Jones, 41, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, explaining why she makes it a priority to showcase women in her projects — both in front and behind the camera.

“It’s important, because the more ways that you can represent women, the more likely it is that stereotypes can’t stick,”  “We’re half the f—ing population! Let’s make things that women want to see that make them feel strong and characters they can relate to.”

One major hurdle to increasing representation is empowering women to get involved in the entire process, including steering the creative process.

Jones, who stars on TBS’s Angie Tribeca and executive produces the upcoming TNT drama Claws, has learned during her time in the industry that the key is “advocating for each other. Because the moment a woman speaks up, other women feel comfortable speaking up themselves or taking shots they wouldn’t otherwise.”

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Jones personally found the strength to get behind the camera from one of her friends, singer Sara Bareilles. Though she was initially hesitant to direct because she had never done it before and felt intimidated by the experience, Bareilles pushed her to try it.

“[She] asked me to direct her video, and I said, ‘I’ve never directed before.’ She said, ‘Who cares? Just do it, and then you’ve done it,’ ” Jones recalls. “I was scared to do it, because I didn’t want to fail. Which I think is also a huge part of being a woman because when we fail, it’s tied to our gender, and when a guy fails, it has nothing to do with him being a man!”

Claws — starring Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Jenn Lyon and Karrueche Tran — premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.