"A lot of times if you are going to be a female in an action film, they want you to look gorgeous, be a bad a**, be capable of firing guns and going high kicks - and still having lipstick and being svelte, being a whole different class of action hero," she said.
"I'm always astounded at the harsh way in which women are judged, and I shouldn't be - I should know that by now, but it is what it is."
The 51-year-old star also said she hopes to pave the way for greater fairness for women in showbiz.
The mother-of-four was speaking as part of the promotional tour for her latest picture Destroyer in which she plays Erin Bell, an emotionally struggling police detective who revisits the case which first traumatised her.
The interview comes as reports claim Nicole has been banned from the wedding of her son Connor, 24, who she adopted with ex-husband Tom Cruise in the mid 1990s.
RadarOnline claims Nicole is not welcome at the Scientology ceremony of Connor and his Italian-born bride-to-be Silvia - who has been dubbed a "Scientology Princess" because of her ardent faith in the controversial religion.
Tom is said to have made the call about Nicole's invitation, or lack thereof, and "Connor followed".
Per Daily Mail, former DJ Connor "worships the ground his father walks on" and is making Tom's dreams come true by marrying a fellow Scientologist.
Since their 2001 divorce, Nicole has been notably absent from many major life events involving Connor and her adopted daughter, Isabella, who chose to remain with Cruise and were raised in the Church of Scientology.