Amandla Stenberg said “it’s not our responsibility to reinvent the wheel” as she discussed gender inequality.
The US actress, known for starring in films including The Hunger Games, Everything, Everything and The Hate U Give, is a vocal campaigner on women’s rights.
Stenberg, 20, told the Press Association the biggest obstacle to equality is, “we don’t open up our minds and hearts to each other and listen to each other”.
Stenberg said the obstacle can be overcome, “by taking a step back and realising it’s not our responsibility to reinvent the wheel, because it’s been invented many times before.
“Sometimes it’s about internalising what has happened in history and listening to your peers and those with a different perspective to you instead of projecting your own beliefs on to them.”
Stenberg was honoured at Equality Now’s Make Equality Reality gala in Los Angeles on Monday.
She was handed the first ever Changemaker Award in recognition of her work “championing gender equality and inspiring positive change through self-expression”.
Stenberg, who in June came out as gay, said she has felt welcomed since announcing the news.
She said: “(It feels) really liberating. I’m never interested in hiding part of myself and having to compromise them for certain constructs within my industry.
“I feel like I’ve been so immediately embraced by a really beautiful community.”