Women's Day is about ensuring women can 'speak up'

For Michelle Dockery, International Women's Day is about women "engaging."

"I think it's simply women having rights and conversations and engaging and talking, and I feel like certainly that's something I'm seeing happening much more," Dockery told CNN in an interview timed to her upcoming film, "The Sense of an Ending."

"I was at a dinner party recently, we were having a conversation, women having a conversation and being very open about our experiences and engaging, and I think that's ensuring that every woman has that right to speak up."

Dockery, who played the strong-willed Lady Mary Crawley on "Downton Abbey" from 2010 to 2015, knows a thing or two about strong women.

"My mom is my hero," Dockery said. "I look up to my sisters. ... There are so many women I look up to."

Dockery said it was an easy decision to take on the role of Susie Webster in "The Sense of an Ending." The movie is about a man in his 60s who reflects on his past, and on the consequences of a letter he once sent a friend.

"For me it's all about the writing and the characters and it doesn't really matter where they're from or what time they're living in," she said. "Like any actor, you just want to keep playing different roles and challenging yourself."

"The Sense of an Ending" opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday and nationwide March 17.