Actress Michelle Williams has used her Emmy platform to draw attention to equality and pay parity in an empassioned victory speech.

Williams was named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie category, for her role in the miniseries Fosse/Verdon.

In accepting the award she thanked her bosses for never presuming to know better than she did about what she needed in order to portray the actor and dancer Gwen Verdon.

"I want to say thank you so much to FX and to Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and for paying me equally," she continued, to cheers from the audience.

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"They understood that when you put value into a person it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value — and where do they put that value? They put it into their work.

"And so 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 counterpart — 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."

Williams' speech was one of several that resonated with viewers during the ceremony.

Patricia Arquette accepts the Outstanding Supporting Actress award. Photo / Getty Images
Patricia Arquette accepts the Outstanding Supporting Actress award. Photo / Getty Images

Patricia Arquette, accepting her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series, drew attention to the predjudice that still exists for transgender people.

The Act star grew emotional as she paid tribute to her late sibling Alexis Arquette, a trans woman who died in 2016 from complications stemming from HIV.

Arquette said she was "so sad" she had lost her sister and that "trans people are still being persecuted".

"I'm in mourning every day of my life... Trans people are human beings. Let's get rid of this bias that we have everywhere. Give them jobs."

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Alex Borstein (L) and her The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel co-star Tony Shalhoub pose with their awards for Outstanding Supporting Actors in a Comedy Series. Photo / Getty Images
Alex Borstein (L) and her The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel co-star Tony Shalhoub pose with their awards for Outstanding Supporting Actors in a Comedy Series. Photo / Getty Images

Earlier in the show, viewers took to social media to applaud Alex Borstein's poignant speech after she won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for her role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

"I want to dedicate this to the strength of a woman, to (series creator) Amy Sherman-Palladino, to every woman on the Maisel cast and crew," Borstein said, before also giving a nod to her mother and grandmother.

Borstein said her grandmother survived because she was courageous enough to step out of a line that would have led to her death at the hands of Nazi Germany.

"She stepped out of line. And for that, I am here and my children are here, so step out of line, ladies. Step out of line," said Borstein, who won the award last year.

- additional reporting by AP, Bang! Showbiz