Women in Animation


In this enjoyable class, students will learn about the fascinating history of women’s participation in the art of animation. In spite of sexism and harassment, women have persisted in making important contributions to this vibrant art form.

Women in Animation

Instructor: Claire Graman

Dates and times: July 26, 27, 28, 29, & 30, 2021, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

For ages 13-17

Platform: Computer with Zoom

Supplies/requirements: Writing materials and access to a computer with Zoom.

From early drawings to today’s sophisticated 3D computers, women have always been part of the art of animation. For example, most people don’t know that the the first full-length animated film was made by German artist Lotte Reiniger in 1926, eleven years before the Disney-animated Snow White. Snow White, as well as Bambi, were drawn by women whose names never appeared in the credits.

In this class, we will study their work, as well as the conditions they worked in.  As a result, students will gain an appreciation for women’s contributions to the art of animation.


Course Outline:

1. The Beginnings of Animation

Students will learn about the beginnings of animation and how the technology has changed over the years. We’ll cover the amazing contributions of Lotte Reiniger. Suggested activities for this unit include making your own flip book or stop-motion video.

2. Disney

This lesson looks at Disney’s contributions, from the Alice in Wonderland comedies to the Disney princess. Did you know that a woman funded Disney when no one else would? Many women worked at Walt Disney Studios, and they had to put up with harassment from their male co-workers. Today Disney has changed a lot, but still has a long way to go.

3. TV Cartoons

What’s your favorite cartoon? In this lesson, we’ll learn about the female pioneers of cartoons, including Mary Ellen Bute and Faith Hubley. We’ll look at how cartoons and anime have portrayed women. In spite of recent changes, diversity is still a problem in cartoons.

4. Anime & Art

In this lesson, we explore countries outside of the United States. Did you know that many nations have historically used cartoons for propaganda? And, in spite of the fact that many anime are targeted to teen boys, anime includes feminism too.

5. 3D Animation & Conclusion

Girls choose a piece of media and present it, analyzing it with what they’ve learned. We’ll also look at the women who work in the field of computer animation.


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