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French Stars, Executives Back Gender-Equality Initiative

On-screen stars and behind-the-camera talent in France have thrown their support behind 5050 Pour 2020 – an initiative to promote gender equality in the film business – and a campaign to wear white ribbons at Friday’s Cesar Awards under the new social-media moniker #NowWeAct (Maintenant On Agit).

The French Academy will hand out the ribbons to guests at the Cesars, and actresses including Vanessa Paradis and Clemence Poesy are among the industry names who have backed the move, organized in association with the Foundation for Women, in a letter published in French newspaper Liberation.

The 5050 Pour 2020 movement is collecting and publishing figures relating to the gender balance – or disparity – in French film. “While French cinema has not been shaken by the shock wave of the Weinstein affair, it seems essential to us to advance on concrete measures, which go beyond the subject of sexual violence,” a message on the group’s website read.

It has challenged French cultural institutions to ensure that their boards of directors are evenly split between men and women by 2022. “We expect decision-makers at the heart of these bodies to become aware of parity, youth and diversity,” the group said. It also called for better monitoring to ensure the 50/50 ambition was realized including information on pay at all levels of the business.

The moves to highlight inequality and harassment issues and promote change come after a range of similar measures in the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe. In Britain, stars mostly wore black at the BAFTAs, following the lead of their peers at the Golden Globes.

The British Film Institute has also led a charge to tackle harassment as part of its wider diversity aims. During the Berlin Film Festival, a European initiative was launched to monitor and report harassment, and well-known female directors backed calls for equality after the release of new data revealing the scale of the gender pay gap.

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