Each year, Cannes Film Festival hosts some of the world’s biggest and brightest, boundary-pushing names in film. This year, the festival took a major stance on gender equality and representation in film with a women’s march led by jury president, Cate Blanchett. Co-organized with Time’s Up and the new French movement 5050×2020, 82 actresses and Hollywood executives walked up the steps of the Palais to boldly display the astonishingly low number of female directors that have been featured over the last 71 years at Cannes. Blanchett read an awe-inspiring statement from her and director Agnès Varda calling on the renowned film festival to step up and make gender inclusivity and diversity a priority.
Watch and read the powerful speech below.
“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. In the same period, 1688 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 Agnès Varda, who stands with us today,” said Blanchett.
“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,” continued Blanchett and Varda.
“We will expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and safe environments in which to work. 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. 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,” they concluded.