She continued discussing the topic backstage.
"The truth is, the older women get, the less money they make," she said. "It is time for us. Equal means equal."
Arquette's speech drew raucous applause from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez in the audience at the Dolby Theatre. The speech also became a trending topic across social media, with other actresses taking to Twitter to cheer on Arquette's mission.
"There's so much to women. There's so much more to talk about," Arquette told "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts after her speech. "And this is a time of change and I think it's our responsibility as human beings to lighten the burden of others."
Arquette told a poignant story of her best childhood friend, who was the first person who ever asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Arquette said she wanted to act and her friend said she wanted to go into fashion. Tonight, Arquette said that she was wearing a dress that her pal designed.
"It's like wearing love," she said.
"I never saw this moment of me winning an Academy Award. I never even thought I'd be nominated," she said. "You know what I did see? I saw ... helping thousands of thousands of people. And I have. I will help millions of people."
Arquette told Roberts she eventually laughed off the missed manicure.
"I ran out of time to get a manicure and I was like, 'That dumb mani-cam is going to attack me,'" Arquette joked, referring to the camera seen on the red carpet before some awards shows. "I just started laughing and said, 'This is really what I want to be doing? Is this who I am?'"