Dana Rose Falcone
February 03, 2016 AT 09:20 PM EST

Go Beyond Beautiful! Entertainment Weekly takes you inside our roundtable discussion with some of Hollywood’s smartest, funniest and bravest actresses. To get the issue, head here – and subscribe now for the exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

When EW gathered some of Hollywood’s top actresses together last month to talk everything from social media to sexism, the conversation naturally included discussion of the industry’s gender pay gap.

“The Sony hack exposing a lot of salaries opened a lot of … became a more public conversation,” Reese Witherspoon said during the roundtable interview with Elizabeth Banks, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, and EW senior writer Nicole Sperling. “I knew it. We all knew it but we didn’t talk about it.”

In 2014, emails released during the breach of security at Sony revealed Jennifer Lawrence made less on American Hustle than her male costars; Lawrence later wrote about the experience in an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter.

Speaking about the pay gap during our Beyond Beautiful roundtable, Scandal star Washington pointed out it’s not about the money, but “the justification for those inequalities and that “it’s okay for the money to look that way.”

“The source of where that belief comes from is what’s not okay,” she added.

Washington made her support for the cause clear on 2015’s Equal Pay day, sharing a Twitter photo with the quote, “When we step up for ourselves, we create opportunity.”

Her fellow Beyond Beautiful cover stars have also spoken out for equality in Hollywood. Witherspoon discussed the topic at Glamour‘s Women of the Year event in November, declaring the pay gap a “cultural crisis in every field.” “Women are underrepresented and underpaid in leadership positions,” the Oscar winner added.

Telenovela star Longoria joined the conversation with an October 2015 Facebook post asking her fans to “lean in for equality to end the pay gap for good!”

Banks, meanwhile, put Hollywood’s focus on females after Pitch Perfect — in which she starred and directed — toppled Mad Max: Fury Road during its opening weekend, making her the second female director have a movie begin its run at the top spot until that point in 2015.

Hear the actresses discuss one of the top issues plaguing not only Hollywood, but the whole country, above. 

For more on our cover story, and exclusive news on Deadpool, HBO’s Vinyl, and more, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.

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