The Cannes Film Festival might be known for its exciting showcases of movies, but it is also one of the most difficult places for women in the industry. Throughout the festival’s history, only one woman has ever won the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ highest honour. That’s why this Saturday, Kristen Stewart, Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek and Marion Cotillard joined 78 other female stars on the Cannes Red Carpet to bring attention to gender inequalities. Marching hand in hand, the women stood silently in a powerful protest against the lack of female filmmakers honoured throughout the history of the festival. Two-time Oscar winner and this year’s Cannes festival jury president Cate Blanchett helped kick off the event, giving a statement on the Palais stairs of head of the premiere of French filmmaker Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun.
“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 along with director Agnès 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.”
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