Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It Ain't Just Animation

From time to time, we point out the small percentages of women in creative positions in Cartoonland. But it isn't just animation:

In the 2008-'09 television season, women comprised 25 percent of "all creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography working on situation comedies, drama and reality programs," according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

The most powerful creative people in the television industry tend to be show creators and/or showrunners (i.e., the executive producers in charge on a day to day basis), but only 21 percent of the creators and 23 percent of the executive producers in the 2008-'09 season were women, according to the Center (the summary of the 2008-'09 report is here).

Statistics from the Writers Guild of America paint a similar picture. As I've noted in the past, in 2007, 28 percent of all writing credits went to women -- a 2 percent uptick from 1999, when 26 percent of credits went to women ....

The 17% totals that the Animation Guild's statistics have shown in the recent past might be a little low compared to other parts of the business, but they're not very far out of the ordinary.


Anonymous said...

What amazes me, Steve, is that you post this because for the past 12 years you have purposely avoided me. Every time you have come to visit the studios I've worked at you would literally, without fail, skip my office and speak only to the men.

The first, I don't know, five years I figured you just didn't know me well enough to speak with me but after 12 years I'm starting to realize that you avoid me. I took it personally but after an extensive poll I found out I am not the only women you avoid. So no worries, I no longer take it personally. It's definitely you.

p.s. I am a woman in your union.

Steve Hulett said...


Why don't you talk to me about this? As far as I know, I chat with everyone who comes in my line of vision.

The only exception I could think of would be people in offices (not cubes) who I think are out of our jurisdiction.

Honestly, I would like to talk to you. (818) 845-7500.

(Having no idea who you are, I've no way of reaching you.)

Anonymous said...

On a positive note i've noticed that in the online game industry there are more and more female artists and animators showing up. I work at a game company where the majority of the art team (including the art lead) are women, and several of my former female classmates from my animation program have found work in the gaming field. I'd be interested to know the actual percentages of animation artist in games who are women compared to the numbers from 5 years ago.

Steve Hulett said...

It's probably because there are more women in art and animation programs.

I just talked to Cal Arts, which informs me that the enrollment in the Animation department is almost exactly 50/50.

Half men, half women.

Anonymous said...

This is kind of a silly judgment on an industry isn't it? Genders are different and of course women tend to move towards obligations outside of the office.

To say suggest a business is sexist because they don't have an even split of women to men is equatable to suggesting a home is sexist because a woman stays home to rear children.

Of course more women stay home to rear children. Women are innately better at nurturing children They are better at communication, at intuition, at providing. Women don't get the dirty end of the stick here folks anymore than men get the dirty end of the stick trudging off to long hours at the studio. Or the fact that men play a much more prominent role in the later years of child rearing - the teen years mostly, so its not easy for them either.

The arbitrary bean counting that goes on qwith this discussion is truly laughable.
The sexes are different people, and parents (who aren't hung up on illusions of workforce equality) play to their strengths. This, more times than not, means women take time off of their careers for the family. Does the husband get judged by this? Maybe we should condemn them too because we are critisizing studios that reflect society's tendencies.

Its more often than not NOT discrimination behind s disparity in genders at a studio. The sexes are different.... like every single other animal on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Pure insanity spaketh above.
For one thing if there were any validity to the above nonsense, why are there ANY young/pre-motherhood baby-maker nurturers in ANY professional career? Are they all just marking time before they get a husband to "trudge" off to support them? What planet is this guy on?

I'm wondering what the women at the large studios I've worked in who are, gasp, moms AND animators AT THE SAME TIME would say to that screed. Jesus.

Anonymous said...

It may be more and more woman finally entering animation... but what are the breakdown percentages by race? As a women of color, it's been a very hard uphill battle to compete with the big boys as well as trying to get a break as an artist in the animation world. There needs to be more outreach, education and opportunity for those like me who are trying to get that break.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:59:00 PM

You're the reason women have a hard time furthering themselves in the industry. It's frightened little men, intimidated by women who don't rely on men, such as yourself.

When cowardly men see a capable woman in the industry they do one of a few things

1)try to avoid them by keeping them out of their group/team

2) pretend to accept them but really resent them and want them out

3)decide that this woman is now his new love interest and when she's not interested he ruins her.

Don't get me wrong. Most men in the industry are modern men who believe in equality but there are plenty of men who think we're still in the 50's.

Anonymous said...

I'm the anonymous poster and I think people are being reactionary here. I'm not saying women belong at home. Not at all. I'm saying often women decide to take years out of their career to have kids and raise them in their early years. That lessens their presence from the idyllic 50/50 split that is being trumpeted above.

Look, if we did a breakdown of ages in the industry you would find there are very few people aged 18 to 21 in the industry. There is a simple reason for that: those kids are in college. I'm not subscribing to "ageism" by pointing out there is a valid reason for their diminished numbers in the industry.

And likewise, I am not saying women belong at home because most women choose to take time out of their career to raise children. I'm saying it will affect the unrealistic 50/50 split of genders.

I'm saying there are factors at play that affect the gender breakdown at work that are not nefarious.

If that doesn't make sense to you, then you have a chip on your shoulder.

Anonymous said...

I think Anonymous has a very good point about women taking time out to focus on family affairs which does affect the ratio to an extent. It's not to say, however, that there isn't still a rift in the industry. There are lots of women artists, but you don't often see women in directorial or producer roles. I've definitely worked at studios where there were talented female employees who were passed over for promotions in favor of equally or less competent male employees.

Anonymous said...

Well. I wonder if except for a few cases that there are any instances of outright discrimination. In some ways that would be easier to pin down than something much more subtle.

How often have the words "you throw like a girl?" been used to insult another male? (Interestingly enough, all evidence indicates that until puberty, male and female children have the same athletic potential when given the same encouragement/attention towards sports.)
Or many other insults based on the sex used to deride masculinity? "It must be that time of the month?" To dismiss an argument? That a woman may not be suitable for a certain job because she might eventually become pregnant and leave? Or that men cannot be free in their language with one of the 'gentler' sex around? These are all subtle ways of placing women as a sex below men. Women are still overcoming generations of discrimination. I know there's a copy of a letter floating online that a woman received from the Walt Disney company which stated Women were not selected for the Story program, but only for the ink and paint department. Even then I recall reading somewhere that the belief in studio was after 30, the skill in women would begin to decrease as they age. Individuals like Mary Blair were the rare exception, not the rule.

These sorts of factors don't vanish in a generation or two. The assumption about what kinds of jobs that are acceptable for women to hold may have precluded some from feeling that art was a viable study subject, or that there was no need for them to achieve a college education. Perhaps it is the assumption that the women must be the providers which led to such an inequality in certain areas of study. Or that because they will rear children, it is not a worthy persuit. In some cases it may be as simple as the man's career being given priority between a husband and wife who have children. The point I'm trying to make is that there are a lot of factors that may be in play here, not just "well. women are rearing children!" There may also be unconscious biases and stereotypes in play. Here's a test that tries to reveal the issue in an interesting way:

It's exciting to hear that CalArts has an even sex ratio! I'm certainly interested to see what the union ratios will be in a few more years.

Non-art related links that talk about this same topic:

Anonymous said...

Women are better at rearing young children for many reasons. First among them they have breasts for breast feeding. But thats just another example of the genders being different.

They are different.

As different as any other creature on the planet. I know, its not politically correct to address the reality that one gender is better or worse than another gender at certain tasks, but thats the horrendous burden of evolution isn't it?

You see to take umbrage with the facts about the sexes and the choices different sexes make. Let me make you feel better:
Women live longer than men too you know....

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