- Jeffrey Yu
Why Representation Matters
A Case for Diversity and Inclusion
According to a 2006 statistic from The Economic Times, the animation industry suffers a 30% worker attrition rate. A major problem contributing to workforce shortages is related to representation within the studio. Even though there is no shortage of talent available to studios, hiring practices with narrow outreach limits the ability to expand and problem solve.
According to statistics from Zippia, average animation workforce gender and ratio demographics are as follows:
Gender- 70.1% male, 23.1% Female, and 6.8% Unkown
Racial and Ethinic- 72.5% White, 11.8% Hispanic Latino, 8.4% Asian, 3.4% Black/African/ African-American, and 1.3% American Indian/Alaska Native.
While the sample size for this study is only conducted out of 590 candidates, personal experience in the industry can confirm this demographic disparity. A 2012 study by Nicole Martins and Kristen Harrison found that representation is crucial for showing minorities in the workforce that there are opportunities available regardless of identity.
Mindy Johnsons, a leading expert on women's roles in animation and film history, stated that while women make up around 75 to 80 percent of her animation courses- a number that her interviews with other educators can corroborate. The 2019 USC Annenberg report showed that only 3 percent of animated film directors are women, and only 1 percent of those women are people of color. The employment numbers for women were much higher in lower positions.
There has been more success with racial diversity in recent years. However, Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Disney, stated that while the doors were open to get into the industry, you could not always rise to the top. He has worked on the Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Pixar movies but never could be a producer or a director. He felt that while there was never any "active discrimination" in the business, he could have gone further if he was not a "person of color".