And what the hell am I talking about? Why, the rising numbers of women now at work in the Los Angeles animation business. (At least, the unionized sections of same.)
Last week an L.A. Times reporter called me to ask how many women were today working in animation. I said that the best information I had was from 2012, when the overall percentage of females to males was 17%/83%. ...
(The seventeen percent figure comes from older TAG hiring records.)
She was a little impatient with the stale data, and wanted to know what the current figures were. I explained that I couldn't instantly come up with newer ones because
1) I was as technologically savvy as a greased pig on ice, and
2) The technologically skilled person capable of producing the data was out on vacation until Monday.
And there the conversation ended. But the reporter's questions got me digging around old blog posts on the subject, if only to see what the older data looked like. I soon found out that in 2007 the overall percentage of women-to-men was similar to 2012, with a more specific breakdown as follows:
Employment Percentages (2007)
Directors and producers: 13.9% women (median age 45)
Writers: 10.3% women (median age 42)
Storyboard: 14.1% women (median age 40)
Development Artists (pre-production): 17.0% women (median age 42)
2-D Artists: (animation and b.g.): 35% women (median age 42)
Tech Directors: 16% women (median age 37)
Checkers: 51.5% women* (median age 46)
The reporter told me that in 2015, 70% of the Cal Arts animation department trends female. (This was news to me; when I called Cal Arts on the subject in '12, the male to female ratio was 50%/50%.)
So. What is the level of employment for women in 2015?
Out of a total of 3190 artists, writers, and technicians employed under a TAG contract, 658 are female, while 2,532 are male. This breaks down to
20.63% -- female employment
79.37% -- male employment
Which means that more women are employed in the cartoon business than at any time since ink-and-paint departments (always predominantly female) packed up and went overseas. And with the numbers of women now training in animation departments at universities, colleges and art schools, this rising tide looks as though it will keep moving up for some time to come.
* Checking has historically been a female-dominated sector in animation.