From Madison Avenue to the
"Mad Men" star
The actress, who plays hard-working vixen Joan Holloway-Harris on the critically acclaimed AMC series known for its painstaking authenticity, addressed the dichotomy between her fictional character and present-day reality during the White House Summit on Working Families.
"When President Obama discusses the issues facing working families — equal pay for women, affordable child care, to name a few — he often says that our current policies seem to be from the 'Mad Men' era."
The conference, hosted by the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress, aimed to have a national conversation and set a concrete agenda to bring American workplaces into the 21st century, according to the White House.
"In the 21st century, the only place for a story like Joan's should be on TV," Hendricks said. "And I am very happy to be here representing a working woman in two decades: One who is fighting in the past for equality and one who is very, very excited to see that dream realized."
The 39-year-old, who was joined by husband Geoffrey Arend, is the latest famous face to rally support for a cause in D.C. She opened her remarks with an attempted reveal of the series' finale before adding a twist of 1960s anti-nostalgia, explaining how things played out decades ago for the character she embodied for seven years.
"In those seven years Joanie has gotten married, she's had a child, and she's become a single working mother," Hendricks said. "She has also faced discrimination in almost every aspect of her job simply because she's a woman."
In her nearly three-minute address, Hendricks laid out how her character's actions and efforts at the fictional ad agency were diminished when surveyed next to those of her male counterparts.
"It's a time for that story to go away — the way of the rotary phone and the typewriter — because our ability to support our families should be based on talent, hard work and responsibilities," she said. "This is not a woman's issue. This is a family issue. This is about everyone."
The actress said that women are constantly accosting her to thank her for playing Joan, adding that "it is not lost on me how deeply lucky I am to play this remarkable woman."