Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Jury member Kristen Stewart, from left, jury member Lea Seydoux, jury president Cate Blanchett, jury member Ava DuVernay and jury member Khadja Nin pose for photographers at the 71st International Film Festival, Cannes, southern France, May 8, 2018.
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
Girls & Women

French Minister to Movie Industry: Use Cannes Festival to Liberate Women's Voices

By Zoe Tabary

LONDON, May 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The movie industry must use this week's Cannes Film Festival to "liberate and listen to women's voices" if it is to stamp out sexual harassment, the French minister for gender equality said.

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts By Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

From a hotline to report harassers at the event to flyers urging participants to behave properly, Marlene Schiappa hopes to use the glitz and glamour of Cannes to ramp up the pressure.

The movie industry "has to be part of the solution", Schiappa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email ahead of this year's festival, which she said should be the "basis for liberating and listening to women's voices".

Embed from Getty Images

Read More: This Ivorian Artist's #MeToo Message Is Impossible to Miss

"The fact that the festival's presidents decided to fight with us against sexual harassment for not just actresses but also workers and spectators at the festival ... is unprecedented and a great step forward," Schiappa said.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival will run from May 8-19 and follows allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein that sparked last year's #MeToo campaign, in which women and men shared their experiences of harassment.

Once one of Hollywood's most powerful figures, Weinstein has been accused by more than 70 women of sexual misconduct, including rape.

He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

In April, Schiappa launched a campaign with the festival organisers to tackle sexual harassment.

Read More: Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation Say #MeToo

Initiatives include a hotline and flyers reading "correct behaviourrequired" and "don't ruin the party, stop harassment!" with the hashtag #nerienlaisserpasser ("don't let anything pass").

Celebrities have used previous film awards this year including Britain's BAFTA and the Golden Globes in Los Angeles to wear black outfits in a gesture of protest and badges name-checking the "Time's Up" campaign against sexual harassment.

Australian movie star Cate Blanchett, who also took part in Time's Up, will chair this year's event, becoming the 11th woman to do so in the Cannes festival's history.

Rachel Krys, co-director of End Violence Against Women Coalition, welcomed the Cannes hotline.

But she said that "the system which supports and protects powerful men, rather than helping victims, also has to be dismantled".

The movie industry should also "call time on films which fetishise violence against women and promote a toxic version of masculinity, and instead create art which challenges gender stereotypes and shifts social norms," she said by email.

(Reporting by Zoe Tabary @zoetabary, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)