Women take over the red carpet at Cannes

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Cate Blanchett led a silent protest involving 82 women on the red carpet on Sunday - to highlight sexual harassment and gender inequality in the film industry.

Cannes general delegate Thierry Fremaux, Directors' Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop and Critics' Week head Charles Tesson became the first signatories of the Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals, which was drawn up by the French gender-parity group 50/50 by 2020.

In contrast to their 82, 1,866 films directed by men have been picked for the prestigious festival lineup.

The number of women was symbolic as it represented how many female filmmakers have been selected to compete in the Cannes Film Festival since its inception 71 years ago.

The leaders of Cannes Film Festival have signed an historic gender equality pledge promising to make the selection process more transparent going forward. We WILL DEMAND that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live.

"Women are not a minority in the world, and yet our industry says the opposite", Blanchett said from the top of the Palais steps, alongside French filmmaker Agnes Varda.

Included in the protest were the likes of Emma Watson, Kristen Stewart and Patty Jenkins, all of whom stood on the steps with their hands linked prior to a screening of director Eva Husson's Girls of the Sun, a film about a Kurdish battalion of women soldiers.

Cannes has come under repeated criticism in recent years over its poor record of selecting female filmmakers.

On the carpet, Kristen dished on what it was like to be apart of the women's march that was held during the festival the day before.

Monday's pledge also calls for the festival to compile statistics breaking down the gender of filmmakers and major crew members for all films submitted to Cannes. Jane Campion is the only female filmmaker to ever win the Palme.

In 2018 only three out of the 21 directors in the competition for the Palme d'Or are women.

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