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Cannes' leaders sign pledge to improve gender equality

Jury president Cate Blanchett, center top second row, stands as part of 82 film industry professionals on the steps of the Palais des Festivals reading a statement highlighting what they describe as pervasive gender inequality in the film industry, at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 12, 2018. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France (AP) -- The leaders of the Cannes Film Festival have signed a gender equality pledge promising to make their selection process more transparent and to push their executive boards toward gender parity.

Cannes director Thierry Fremaux signed the pledge Monday in a packed tent on the Cannes beach, along with Edouard Waintrop, artistic director of Cannes' Director's Fortnight section and Charles Tesson, artistic director of Critics' Week.

Watching from the front row was this year's nine-member jury, including president Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay and Lea Seydoux.

The pledge was drawn up by the French gender-parity group 50/50 by 2020, which brought in other groups including Time's Up.

Cannes has come under criticism for years for not selecting films from more women directors.

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