Extracts on what’s being said about gender equality in our world.
Cannes film festival unveils equality charter in push for gender parity
Gwilym Mumford, Guardian, May 14, 2018
Pledge is likely to be adopted by other leading international film festivals in drive to improve women’s representation
A new charter aimed at improving gender parity at the Cannes film festival, and which is expected to be adopted by other leading film festivals, has been unveiled.
Under the charter, the Cannes film festival will record the gender of the cast and crew of all films submitted, make public the names of selection committee members and work towards gender parity on the Cannes board.
However, the festival stopped short of promising to introduce gender parity in terms of directors of films selected, confirming festival director Thierry Frémaux’s long-held position that the selections should be based on “artistic merit” alone.
The clause was signed by Frémaux, Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight artistic director Édouard Waintrop and Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson at an event held jointly with the French culture ministry and the country’s 5050×2020 equality movement. In attendance was this year’s festival jury, which includes president Cate Blanchett, as well as Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay.
Speaking at the event, Frémaux said that Cannes needed to question its own “practices, traditions, habits, and history. Cannes has stats that speak for themselves – and in a negative way,” he admitted.
Frémaux said that by being transparent Cannes would respond to issues of diversity and parity while still using “its own editorial and strategic judgment” in selecting films.
“The festival can commit to changing things by signing this charter … We hope that this will reinforce this realisation that the world is no longer the same,” Frémaux added.
Cannes has sought to defuse criticism over a perceived lack of equality in its lineup at this year’s festival. Only three of the 21 films in the running for this year’s Palme d’Or were directed by women, while Jane Campion, for her 1993 film The Piano, remains the only woman to have won the Palme.
Watch Cate Blanchett’s Impassioned Speech for Gender Equality at Cannes Women’s March
By Maane Khatchatourian, Variety, May 12, 2018
Cate Blanchett delivered an impassioned speech on the steps of the Palais on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, calling for gender equality. The Cannes jury president was joined by 81 other women in the movie industry, including fellow jurors Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, and Léa Seydoux, as well as Patty Jenkins, Salma Hayek, and Marion Cotillard.
The number of participants at the unprecedented red carpet march is a reference to the number of women whose films have competed at Cannes in the history of the prestigious festival. Blanchett said 82 women have climbed the steps of the festival’s central theater, while 1,866 male directors have ascended them since 1942.
“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” Blanchett said, reading from a statement written by her and legendary director Agnes Varda, who delivered the speech in French. “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and our commitment to progress. We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.”
Salma Hayek Talks Gender Equality In Hollywood, Suggests Male Stars Take Pay Cuts To Close Wage Gap
Salma Hayek appeared at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday morning to speak at a “Women in Motion” event sponsored by luxury brand Kering, and she had some big points to make about the wage gap between male and female actors in Hollywood.
“It is not just the producers” who need to change in order to affect wage parity, she said (via The Guardian). “It is actors too.”
As the “Beatriz At Dinner” actress explains, male stars also need to take some responsibility. “Time’s up. You had a good run, but it is time now to be generous with the actresses,” she said.
“If actors ask such inflated fees it will leave nothing for actresses,” she added. “If the movie’s budget is $10m, the [male] actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7m, it is going to be hard for equality. Otherwise they will kill the movie.”
She joked: “I will be hated for saying this, […] I hope I can get another job.”
The day before Hayek spoke at the event, she was one of 82 women, including Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, and “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, to engage in a symbolic march on the steps of the red carpet during the Cannes screening of “Girls Of The Sun (Les Filles Du Soleil)”.
“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 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs,” said Blanchett.
“These facts are stark and undeniable,” she added. “Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise.”
“It was very meaningful to me in many ways,” Hayek said of the march. “Personally, as a woman that’s been part of this community and has had to go through the struggles that all women have had to go through. It’s an important step to see this happen.”
The Push for Gender Equality in Sport is Building Momentum
IOC, May 16, 2018
As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gets set to take part in the 7th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women in Sport in Gaborone, Botswana from 17 to 20 May, Chair of the IOC Women in Sport Commission Lydia Nsekera shares how the IOC is being “part of the change.”
This October in Buenos Aires, for the first time ever, half of the athletes at the Youth Olympic Games will be women. In February at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, over 43 percent of competitors were female, a record number. Forty eight percent female representation is predicted for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. We have come a long way and should be exceedingly proud of all of these women who have helped to vault us forward.
But the push for gender equality in the Olympic Movement is not over yet, as sport should not be restricted to elite athletes. There are still, everywhere in the world, too many highly accomplished women who are refused access to sport, or socially stigmatized when they decide to excel in a sport. Similarly, women face discrimination at all levels, and continue to endure violence and abuse. Gender inequality persists among decision-making bodies, technical occupations, the media, and in the awarding of sponsorships and prizes.
The role of the IOC Women in Sport Commission, which I chair, has, since 1995, tackled the challenge of dismantling these many barriers that persist and prevent women and girls from enjoying the benefits of sport. Among other things, we work tirelessly to identify and dismantle discrimination wherever it exists; educate public opinion, particularly sports executives; and strive to encourage women into executive careers in sport. We are also engaged in a relentless fight to eradicate violence and abuse to women in sport.
Mindful of its daunting task, the Women in Sport Commission is always looking for innovative approaches. With the support of colleagues from the IOC Athletes’ Commission, we pushed for a review of all the areas where our efforts could promote gender equality in the IOC and the wider Olympic Movement.
Africa Committed To Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment
By Jeffrey Moyo
JOHANNESBURG (IDN) – Twenty-nine year old Ruramai Gwata had no reason to celebrate the International Women’s Day observed on March 8 every year. She lay in hospital nursing her wounds following a severe assault by her husband over a domestic dispute.
While licking her wounds two months later, as the world commemorated Mother’s Day, Gwata was plagued by agonising memories of how her two children witnessed her abuse by her husband.
Jobless Gwata, though a qualified jobless teacher, is by no means a rare exception in Africa. Because of the fate of women like Gwata the continent’s bid to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 by accomplishing gender equality and empowering all women and girls by the year 2030, threatens to remain a pipe dream.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in today’s world. It is a major obstacle to the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights and to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With this in view, the European Union (EU) and the UN are embarking on a new, global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The Spotlight Initiative will respond to all forms of VAWG, with a particular focus on domestic and family violence, sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices, femicide, trafficking in human beings and sexual and economic (labour) exploitation.
Notwithstanding the perturbing reality on the ground, African countries have pledged to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Almost all countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; more than half have ratified the African Union’s Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Other milestones include the African Union’s declaration of 2010–2020 as the African Women’s Decade.
According to UN Women, although Africa includes both low- and middle-income countries, poverty rates are still high. The majority of women work in insecure, poorly paid jobs, with few opportunities for advancement. Democratic elections are increasing, and a record number of women have successfully contested for seats. But electoral-related violence is of growing concern.
Independent development expert Mabel Chiluba, based in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, says the crisis faced by Africa’s women and girls who are downtrodden, calls for urgent attention from the continent’s leaders.
“Gender equality by 2030 needs serious action to eradicate the many core causes of discrimination that still inhibit women’s rights in private and public spheres. For example, discriminatory laws need to change,” Chiluba told IDN.
True to Chiluba’s observation, countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria and Mozambique continue to lag behind the rest of the world on women’s participation in development efforts.
“We remain imprisoned in the mediaeval era, where women are still oppressed, all this due to deeply entrenched, discriminatory views about the role and position of women and girls across African societies. As women, we have been relegated to inferior positions resulting in unequal power relations between us and men,” a Zimbabwean feminist and director of the Youth Dialogue Action Network, a democracy lobby group, Catherine Mkwapati, told IDN.
According to Mkwapati, “Even in workplaces, Africa’s traditional practises which undermine women are still pervasive, subsequently perpetuating various forms of violence against women,” says Mkwapati.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Education for All Global Monitoring Report, covering the period 2000-2015, underlines the veracity of her view. Fewer than half of the world’s countries had achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education when the report was released in 2015.
The report also found that the gender equality gap in secondary school had been reduced but remained wide, with the highest numbers of gender disparity occurring in the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa, where no country had met the gender equality goal.
But there are exceptions such as Rwanda, which is reported to beat France and the United States in gender equality. According to the Global Gender Report 2017, in terms of closing the gap between men and women, at 86 percent Rwanda has one of the highest rates of female labour force participation in the world while in the U.S., for example, that figure stands at 56 percent.
However, the Global Gender Report attributes Rwanda’s high rate of female workforce participation to the country’s devastating genocide of 1994. Subsequently, over two decades ago, around 800,000 Rwandese were slaughtered in the space of just three months. In the wake of these horrendous events, women made up between 60 percent and 70 percent of the surviving population. They (Rwandese women) had little choice, but to inherit the roles once played by men, according to the Report.
In populous Nigeria, gender inequality is still influenced by different cultures and beliefs and in most parts of that country, women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts, especially to the North of the West African nation. And, Nigeria’s huge male population still firmly believes in the country’s customs which despises women.
“In Nigeria, we generally believe that women are best suited as home keepers, working in the kitchen and nothing else or more than that,” Nwoye, Ikemefuna, a Nigerian businessman told IDN.