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Animation inclusion figures revealed

ANNECY: A new study has suggested there is much more work to be done to increase the number of women working in animation, and particularly women of colour, despite gains having been made.

Marge Dean

The Inclusion in Animation report claims to the most comprehensive and in-depth analysis of inclusion in entertainment with a focus on animation. It comes from Dr Stacy L Smith and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

The report was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation (WIA) and was presented at the WIA World Summit in Annecy, France, yesterday, where the International Animation Film Festival & Market is currently taking place.

The quantitative study examined animation across film and popular TV series, evaluating the prevalence of women above and below the line in key roles, and in the executive ranks across major companies and studios.

These results found positive trends, such as women making up almost half of the executives in animation and 50% of the most powerful positions in major film animation companies and studios.

However, in television, the report found that women comprised 20% of executive producers, 17% of co-executive producers and 34% of producers. Only six women of colour were executive producers, while 8% of producers were women from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds. Seventeen percent of ‘created by’ or ‘developed by’ credits in TV were held by women, with just three earned by women of colour.

The report, available here, also includes a qualitative investigation, consisting of 75 in-depth interviews with early-career women and decision-makers, as well as survey data from more than 250 individuals in the Animation Guild.

Results from the qualitative analysis demonstrate the major impediments facing women in the animation industry, according to the report.

Responses indicated that a male-dominated and masculine culture is detrimental to women, that the industry views women as less valuable, and that women are perceived to be less interested in the field.

Unique impediments facing women of colour were also explored, namely the negative consequences that emerge from being a “token,” including feelings of isolation.

“One sentiment that emerged from the qualitative responses was a sense of distrust and scepticism from animation industry members about current efforts surrounding inclusion,” said Dr Katherine Pieper, one of the study’s authors.

“As organisations and individuals grapple with how to support and extend the careers of women in the industry, including women from all backgrounds and communities, the goal must be to ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging and that men and women are committed to target inclusion goals and working collectively toward achieving them.”

Marge Dean, president of WIA, added: “This study validates what we have known all along, that women are a hugely untapped creative resource in the animation industry. Now that we have a greater understanding of how the numbers fall into place and what solutions may help rectify this deficiency, we can take bigger strides towards our goal of 50-50 by 2025.”


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