Blanchett shared the speech with Agnès Varda - one of the most celebrated French film directors in the industry who has spent decades using her platform and art to discuss feminist issues within society.
The leaders of the Cannes Film Festival signed a charter Monday promising to push for an equal number of men and women on its decision-making boards, as well as calling for greater transparency in the film selection process. Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Ava DuVernay, Léa Seydoux and Salma Hayek were among those who joined.
Wearing a 50/50 button - a symbol of the "50/50 by 2020" arm of Time's Up, which is working toward gender parity in Hollywood in the next two years - Blanchett said that though women are not a minority worldwide, "the current state of our industry says otherwise". We WILL DEMAND that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live. "In the same period, 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs". "The world has changed".
Cannes has come under repeated criticism in recent years over its poor record of selecting female filmmakers.
In 2018 only three out of the 21 directors in the competition for the Palme d'Or are women.
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Its key commitments include the compilation of statistics to record the gender of the filmmakers and key crew of all submissions. Without Thierry Fremaux saying yes to the pledge, without saying yes to the stairs, we wouldn't be here.
The number of stars, filmmakers and film industry professionals ascending the steps represented the number of female filmmakers who have been selected to compete at Cannes during the festival's seven-decade history. "You come across a set of absolutely ripe and ready opportunities to grow worldwide partnerships between the Indian film industry and the cultural and thought streams prevailing outside India", said Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Indian Ambassador to France inaugurating the pavilion.
Among those taking part was Haifaa Al-Mansour, widely recognised as Saudi Arabia's first female film director, who stood beside Twilight star Kristen Stewart and former Bond girl Lea Seydoux for the portrait.
After the signing, filmmaker Rebecca Zlotowski noted it was Blanchett's birthday, and attendees serenaded the actress with a rendition of "Happy Birthday".