Eighty-two women of Hollywood, including Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay and Jane Fonda, took to the Cannes red carpet, protesting the lack of female directors at the festival, reported The Guardian.

Only 82 female directors have had their films shown at Cannes since its inception, compared to 1,688 male directors

On May 12, eighty-two women silently stood together on the red carpet at Cannes. The protest in the French Riviera was to encourage better treatment and representation of women in the film industry.

The group, featuring Patty Jenkins and Salma Hayek, walked in silence along the red carpet stopping halfway up the staircase of the entrance to the conference centre which hosts the events. This gesture signified the difficulties women face in climbing the social and professional ladder.

Concluding the protest, Blanchett and documentary-maker Agnes Varda read a collective statement. It called out to institutions to provide safer working conditions for women and urged governments to uphold equal pay laws.

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. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”

Cannes Cate Blanchett Kristen Stewart Protest
Photo credit: Evening Standard

The protest was organised by 5050×2020, a collective that seeks to address gender disparity in the film industry. The women matched the total number of films by female film-makers that have appeared at the festival since its inception in 1946.

Throughout the festival’s 72-year history, only one woman, Jane Campion, has won the festival’s highest honour, the Palme d’Or, which she had to share with a man.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux said that Cannes would look to improve the number of selection of films directed by women. This year, only three out of 21 films selected by the festival were directed by women. This selection gained widespread criticism.

Read: Smriti Irani To Represent India At Cannes

More stories by Bhawana

Bhawana is an intern at SheThePeople.Tv

Picture Credit: Evening Standard

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.