Women are taking a stand in Cannes, with Cate Blanchett leading an extraordinary women’s march at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to make a crucial point about gender equality.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blanchett — jury head of the 2018 festival — was joined by 81 female actors and executives on the steps of the red carpet during the Cannes screening of “Girls Of The Sun (Les Filles Du Soleil)”.
The number of women symbolizes the fact that, in the festival’s 71-year-history, only 82 films in competition in the official selection have been directed by women — a stark comparison to the more than 1,600 films in competition that were directed by men.
“On these steps today stand 82 women representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946,” said Blanchett, reading from a prepared statement. “In the same period 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs. In the 71 years of this world-renowned festival there have been 12 female heads of its juries. The prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors — too numerous to mention by name — but only two women — Jane Campion, who is with us in spirit, and Agnes Varda who stands with us today.”
Blanchett continued: “These facts are stark and undeniable. Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise. As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all involved in the cinematic arts. We stand in solidarity with women of all industries.”
Among those standing with Blanchett were Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Salma Hayek, Leila Bekhti, Sofia Bouterra, Patty Jenkins and many more, as Blanchett continued by reading a list of demands.
“We will expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and safe environments in which to work,” she said. “We will expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We will demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live. A world that allows all of us behind and in front of the camera to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues.”
She concluded: “We acknowledge all of the women and men who are standing for change. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”