The Bafta-nominated actor, 36, has two sons with her ex-husband Laurence Fox: 10-year-old Winston James and seven-year-old Eugene Pip. She is also mum to nine-month-old Tallulah, with her current partner Johnny Lloyd.
“I always worried about having a little girl,” she told Stylist magazine. “I was delighted and relieved, frankly, when I knew I was having boys. And I’ve adored having sons.
“I have been constantly surprised by them – how emotional, sensitive and thoughtful they are.”
Piper said being a woman today is “as hard as it was yesterday”.
“The landscape hasn’t changed that much really and although there are some glaring improvements there’s still a way to go,” she said. “The world telling us we can have it all is very unhelpful. The reality is we can have one or two things successfully but that third thing will be seriously compromised and often that’s the relationships with our partners or our children and, ultimately, ourselves.”
Piper said the “problem with men begins with the raising of boys”, adding that we are too quick to shut them down and tell them to be strong, “to shame them and yet give them a false sense of entitlement”.
“This has contributed to the creation of a man’s world and one I didn’t want for my daughter,” she said.
The Doctor Who star, who was previously married to the radio DJ Chris Evans, added that she was fascinated by strong men when she was younger.
“When I was a little girl, I said sorry all the time,” she said. “I worked extremely hard at school. I was petrified of men but longed to be with a strong one. I always mistook control for strength.
“I was fascinated by men and often preferred their company because, on reflection, they had freedom and that was attractive.
“Men seemed to laugh more; they always ate the biggest plate of food and everybody had to wait for their word before any bloody decisions were made.
“I decided I’d try and copy men to get what I wanted. This would sometimes work and I’d feel victorious!”
Read the full interview in Stylist magazine, out Wednesday.