Cate Blanchett Leads Cannes Film Festival Women's March in Honor of Gender Equality

82 women head to the Palais to make a statement about inequity at the French film festival

By Meg Swertlow May 12, 2018 8:56 PMTags
Kirsten Stewart, Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay, Cate Blanchett, Protest, Cannes Film Festival Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

They're taking a red carpet stand!

Cannes Film Festival Jury head Cate Blanchet led a women's march, alongside Ava Duvernay, Kristen Stewart, Salma Hayek, Patty Jenkins and many more women, on the stairs of the Palais des Festivals to protest gender inequity at the famed film festival and to promote gender equality in the film industry.

At Saturday's screening of Eva Husson's Girls Of The Sun, a drama about Kurdish female fighters, Blanchett joined 81 women on the red carpet at the 71st Annual Cannes Film Festival to represent each of the 82 films directed by women that have been in the official selection in the whole of the 71-year-competition—meanwhile 1,645 films have been directed by men.

Cannes Film Festival 2018: Star Sightings
George Pimentel/WireImage)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blanchett gave powerful remarks on the stairs to a sea of onlookers.

"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," said the Oscar-winning actress in a statement read along with Faces Places director Agnès Varda. "The prestigious Palme d’Or has been bestowed upon 71 male directors - too numerous to mention by name—but only two women—Jane Campion [director of The Piano], who is with us in spirit, and Agnès Varda who stands with us today."

Dominique Charriau/WireImag

Blanchett and Varda continued, "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."

THR Senior Staff Writer Chris Gardner posted several videos and photos on social media from the historic red carpet. 

Along with a video, the journalist wrote, "Eva Husson and her Girls of the Sun actresses enter #Cannes2018 red carpet to @Beyonce "Run the World (Girls)". Amazing moment on night of Cate Blanchett speech and #5050X2020 women’s march. They’re dancing and infusing to electric energy in Palais."

The French version of the #MeToo movement known as 5050×2020 orchestrated the event.

Their website explains, "While French cinema wasn’t shaken by the Weinstein shock wave, it is essential that we move to take concrete action reaching beyond the issue of sexual abuse alone."

The site continues, "We believe that the opportunity to work in an egalitarian and inclusive environment must be seized because we are certain that the equal sharing of power will promote profound creative renewal."

Check out all the photos from the women's march and the Girls of the Sun premiere...

Ava DuVernay and Cate Blanchett

Ava Duvernay, a jury member, and jury president Cate Blanchett walked the red carpet as part of 82 film industry professionals to represent, what they describe as pervasive gender inequality at the festival.

Cate Blanchett

The Oscar winner appears on the red carpet before the Girls of the Sun premiere during the night of protest.

Women's March

Sofia Boutella, Salma Hayek, Patty Jenkins and more pose on the red carpet in protest of the lack of female filmmakers honored throughout the history of the festival at the screening of Girls Of The Sun.

Kirsten Stewart and Lea Seydoux

The American star and the French actress walk arm-in-arm on the red carpet in protest of the lack of female filmmakers honored throughout the history of the festival.

Marion Cotillard and More

The French actress walks the red carpet in protest of the lack of female filmmakers honored throughout the history of the festival at the screening of Girls Of The Sun during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France.

Patty Jenkins, Salma Hayek and Sofia Boutella

The trio of women take to the red carpet holding hands.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren attends the screening of Girls Of The Sun during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France.

Kendall Jenner

Supermodel goes for a sheer dress for the Girls Of The Sun premiere. 

Amber Heard

The actress makes an appearance at the Girls Of The Sun premiere.