Actress Michelle Williams used her acceptance speech at the Emmys to make an impassioned plea for gender pay equality.

Williams picked up a gong for her leading role in biographical miniseries Fosse/Verdon, in which she stars opposite Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell.

Taking to the stage, the 39-year-old thanked producers, saying they never “presumed to know better than I did” how to play her character of  dancer Gwen Verdon.

2019 Primetime Emmy Awards – Press Room
Michelle Williams used her Emmys acceptance speech to demand gender pay equality (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

She said: “Thank you so much to FX and Fox 21 studios for supporting me and paying me equally, because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. Where do they put that value? They put it into their work.”

Williams was infamously the victim of one of Hollywood’s most notorious instances of inequal pay for reshoots of drama All the Money in the World.

She was paid 1,000 US dollars for the work, while co-star Mark Wahlberg picked up 1.5 million US dollars.

Speaking at the Emmys in Los Angeles, Williams demanded change.

She said: “The next time a woman, and especially a woman of colour, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterparts, tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her.

“Because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment – and not in spite of it.”