Members of the group included actresses, directors and other women in the film industry, including Kristen Stewart, Salma Hayek and "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins, The Associated Press reports. Since the launch of the Cannes Film Festival, only 82 films directed by women have been awarded by an official selection in competition, compared to 1,645 films directed by men, a ratio of less than five percent.
The march was planned by 5050 by 2020, a French movement dedicated to gender equality in film.
Jury President Cate Blanchett will read a statement at the top of the steps, as will the oldest Oscar nominee ever Agnes Varda.
"Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise", Blanchett said.
"As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress", read part of the statement.
"The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all", she concluded.
Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years within the range of female administrators selected to its primary record, believed among the absolute most prestigious achievements in theatre. The protest will take place before the premiere of the film, Girls of the Sun, a movie in competition by Eva Husson, one of only three female filmmakers to have their work selected by the festival committee this year.
The festival supported Saturday's protest.
Fremaux has repeatedly insisted that the festival chooses its films purely based on quality.
Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux alluded to the women's red carpet plans on Monday, saying a large group of women were going to do something at the festival on Saturday "to affirm their presence". But he has likewise indicated that the festival is now reanalyzing its procedures and is now making its own selection committees sex balanced.