March 2023

Is There Place for Women in Animation?

Even though animation is predominantly a male field, the industry has seen increasing efforts for gender equality.

Do you know what the cartoons Betty Boop, Bambi, Popeye and My Little Pony have in common? All of them were created by female animation pioneers, such as Lottie Reiniger, Rita Scott, Lillian Friedman Astor, Lauren Faust. Of course, as part of the teams that were led and made up of their male colleagues. However, with their creativity, they made history in animation, paving the way for other women to pursue this exciting profession. 

Today, animation is still a predominantly male field, although statistics provided by the organization "Women in Animation" show that more than 60 percent of animation and art students worldwide are women. However, they occupy only 20 percent of positions in the creative industry and just over 10 percent of director and producer positions in animation. One of the biggest barriers is the transition from school to work desks. 

However, in recent years we have witnessed increasing industry efforts for gender equality and the promotion of women behind the drawing boards. Analyzing the local situation, we spoke with Dragana Jovanović, HR Manager at ILBE Studios, studio that created the first domestic animated series "Puffins Impossible" starring Johnny Depp, which is being broadcast on streaming platforms in 160 countries around the world.  

"At ILBE Studios, from the very beginning, we have contributed to equal opportunities in the employment and affirmation of women, experts in the field of animation and film. As ILBES is still a young studio, which has existed for only three years, we proudly point out that 50 percent of our team is made up of women, while they also occupy half of the leadership positions. These figures are the result of the orientation towards diversity and individuality in our studio, as well as the recognition, above all, of motivation, talent and professionalism in the selection process. Our mission is to, together with other factors of the creative industry, create an environment that motivates female artists and creative experts to pursue a career in the field of animation, doing the job they love and for which they have been trained," said Jovanović.



The road to equal opportunities for all is a long one for every industry. Today's situation at the global level is not a novelty, but an established practice in the world of animation. Thus, during the 1930s, women were not allowed to work in leading positions on animation projects, or even to be signed as authors. The only option was to get a job in the Ink and Paint Department, regardless of the talent they possessed.

However, the situation changed after the beginning of the World War II, when they represented the only workforce, given that men were mostly on the battlefields. At the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, there was an expansion of the "cartoon" industry, an increase in the number of female animators, storyboard artists, illustrators and other professions, but with their still unexpectedly low representation in the working environment compared to school desks. 

However, the creative industry is constantly developing and originally "male" fields, such as gaming and animation, are becoming more and more open to everyone. But, how far the entire ecosystem will progress in terms of equal opportunities for all, depends solely on the combined action of all its factors.

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