Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be part of this event and to launch this campaign in such a good company.

I hope that we can all be and meet in Cannes next year.

This campaign brings together women and media – two topics which are very close to my heart and that are at the core of my work.

I would like to start by quoting the great filmmaker Agnès Varda, who was honoured in the Cannes Film Festival two years ago. She said: “The role of a woman is not to prove that she can do all that a man can do or knows how to do. On the contrary, the role of a woman is to do what she feels she should do as a woman. And if she wants to do things that are different from what men do then all the better.”

This campaign today shows women doing what they feel they should do as women. And it is inspiring.

This campaign is needed, because as we overcome the pandemic we have to make sure that women take a centre stage of our recovery efforts; we have to make sure that free and pluralistic media are strong. Because these sectors are not just like any other business, they are at the core of democracy.

This is exactly what we are trying to do, for example with our Media and Audiovisual Action Plan. This plan is our roadmap for the recovery and digital transformation.

This campaign is also part of our efforts for gender equality. It goes also hand in hand with our wider efforts for inclusion and diversity. I think about our actions against racism, for example for Roma people in particular, for LGBTI Equality and for the people with disabilities.

We are at the beginning of a new decade. And I believe that this decade will truly belong to women.

Women can do it, we see it today in cinema, in the media. And also in politics.

I am proud to be part of a European Commission that leads by example: we have the first woman president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the most equal ever College of Commissioners.

In 2014 in the European Commission we set the target to get to 40% of women in higher and middle management by 2019. And we got there. It did not happen overnight. It required an effort. But we managed, from 29% to 40%, in 5 years.

I always say that Europe is a good address for women. Especially in global comparison, but we still have a lot work to do.

Of course this is a matter of fundamental rights. But this is also smart economics. Women are on average better educated and fully qualified to take the centre stage of recovery. We cannot afford wasting such a potential.

To advance on gender equality, in the Commission we have been taking a series of measures, legislative and non-legislative, let me highlight three.

First, earlier this year, we presented a proposal for a directive enforcing the principle of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value. It builds on binding pay transparency measures and facilitates access to justice. Our main aim is to end the discrimination in pay and ensure equal pay for equal work.

The gender pay gap in Europe is stubbornly stuck. Even though more women graduate from universities, they earn on average 16% less than men do. We also see that only 8% of CEO's of the EU's largest companies are women, despite the fact that they graduate from universities in greater numbers than men. We observe that progress is made in countries where binding measures on targets in decision-making positions were introduced. Where there are no binding measures, there is no progress and women face the glass ceiling.

Second, we want to create a safer environment for journalists, and in particular women journalists. We will present recommendations to Member States on the safety of journalists in September, with a specific attention to attacks against women.

73% of female journalists participating in a UNESCO survey declared that they have experienced online violence in the course of their work. We know too well that online violence can lead to offline violence. This is unacceptable.

And last but not least, we are mobilising EU funding. And here I want to highlight our Creative Europe MEDIA programme, which you know well. It has been a success story for more than 30 years. This programme is bigger than ever with around EUR 1.43 billion for 7 years.

Today, in Europe, only one film in five is directed by a woman. We want this to change. It is not only about directors – we see today in the campaign that there is a wide range of professions in the media and audiovisual sectors which are less known but exciting!

In the new MEDIA Programme, we require applicants to make a commitment to implement diversity goals in their company strategies. We ask them to take action to make their teams more diverse and this is rewarded in the evaluation process. Let’s be clear, this is not about the content – we fully respect artistic freedom. But we strongly believe that more diverse teams bring richer content. 

Let me highlight that the MEDIA programme has also been supporting mentoring programmes and this is something we want to do more.

Because we need to support each other. We need to inspire each other. We need to support talent and diversity – which are Europe’s greatest assets.

I would like to thank all those involved in these efforts and I encourage you the spread the word –  and this campaign.

The more participate, the better, so that we can show and nurture diversity in the EU. This is only the beginning, we will continue our efforts, together.

Thank you.