At the Cannes Film Festival of 2021, out of 24 films in the competition for the Palme d’Or, only four seats have been reserved for the ladies.

Debates over whether to blame the festival’s selection committee or the wider film industry, have become a routine. 

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The conversation on equal representation across the nominee board reached a hot turn in 2018. With the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, 82 women held a protest on the steps of the Palais in Cannes, including Jane Fonda, Marion Cotillard and “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.

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Here, we have attempted to examine the truth in the non-discrimination policy of the board which insists that the nominees are based on merit.

The film industry’s most prestigious prize, the Jane Campion has only been won by one won for “The Piano” in 1993. 

Credit must be given where it is due. 

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This year’s edition had a more balanced list with some 40 women presenting films this year. 

In the main competition, three of the four women in the main competition are French: Mia Hansen-Love (“Bergman Island”), Catherine Corsini (“The Divide”) and Julia Ducournau (“Titane”), along with Hungary’s Ildiko Enyedi (“The Story of My Wife”).

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Sophie Monks, co-chair of press group Times Up UK Critics said, “It’s no surprise that the history of the Cannes Film Festival is dominated by the celebration of male achievement when it has overwhelmingly been programmed by men”. 

She added that this year’s female representation is statistically worse this year than in 2019. 

However, even though there are only four women in this year’s selection the nominees will face a jury that is dominated by females- French-Senegalese director Mati Diop and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal, for the fourth time in the festival’s history (2009, 2014 and 2018).