ANNECY: The gender disparity in the animation industry has come under the spotlight thanks to research released by the non-profit organisation Women In Animation (WIA).
WIA co-presidents Marge Dean and Kristy Scanlan hosted a panel discussion about the state of women in animation here in Annecy at the International Animation Market on Tuesday.
The theme for this year’s International Animation Festival is “honouring women,” and there have been calls for greater awareness of a gender imbalance in the business, with data gathered by the Animation Guild showing that men make up 80% of the industry.
“Having a presence at Annecy this year has given us the amazing opportunity to meet the women who have made a name for themselves in a largely male-driven industry, and to learn from their perspective and experience,” said Scanlan.
“We have been collecting statistics from studios and schools around the world which show that women dominate art schools but then make up only about 20% of the creative workforce,” added Dean.
The presentation and panel discussion included WIA Advisory Board members Margie Cohn of DreamWorks Animation and Turner Broadcasting’s Adina Pitt.
According to the Animation Guild’s findings, 10% of all producer/directors are women, 17% of writers, 21% of art/designers and just 23% of animators.
These are all average numbers, mainly focused on LA-based studios, both large and small, WIA noted.
WIA has also found that the numbers are similar in Canada. At the eight studios in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, 16-18% of the creative roles are currently filled by women.
In France, the funding body CNC said that 54 television series were financed in 2014 and out of a total of 233 scriptwriters involved, 54 were women (23%), and just 16 of the 82 directors (20%).
WIA also noted that in the past 15 years there have been only two solo woman directors of US-produced animated features: Jennifer Yuh Nelson on Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Jun Falkenstein on The Tigger Movie (2000).
“There is a lot of promise for increasing the role of women in the animation industry, simply based on the increased number of women studying animation at college level. But we’ve learned from experience that an increase in student enrolment alone will not change the employment numbers,” Dean added.
WIA relaunched under the leadership of Dean and Scanlan, from production outfits Mattel and Technicolor respectively, in 2013.