The number of women symbolizes the fact that, in the festival's 71-year history, only 82 films in competition in the official selection have been directed by women - a stark comparison to the more than 1,600 films in competition that were directed by men.
At the first Cannes festival since the sexual abuse scandals that broke in Hollywood past year, Cate Blanchett, the head of the jury that will award the Palme d'Or, and veteran French director Agnes Varda read out a statement.
While there has been buzz around Bella Hadid and The Weeknd's reunion in the French city and the festival's selfie-free red carpet, the main talk of Cannes Film Festival has been its badass female jury.
"We are 82 women, representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946".
The 71st Cannes Film Festival kicked off on Tuesday with Cate Blanchett as President of the Jury.
Only 82 female directors have ever competed for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, since 1946 compared with nearly 1,700 male directors. The pledge, dubbed the "Programming Pledge for Parity and Inclusion in Cinema Festivals", was signed May 14 during an Cannes event hosted by 5050×2020, the French women's group behind the red carpet protest for gender equality earlier in the festival.More news: Alan Shearer mocks Mike Ashley's end of season statement
'We stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination to change and progress'. The stairs of our industry MUST be accessible to all.
Capernaum, from Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, and Happy as Lazzaro, by Italy's Alice Rohrwacher, are the other two works by female filmmakers up for the prize in 2018. Jane Campion is the only female filmmaker to ever win the Palme.
Well now they're making headlines again as last night having staged a protest at the lack of gender equality within the festival itself.
Women's march at Cannes Film Festival.
Cannes has been criticized over the years for the gender imbalance in films selected for screening at the festival.