March 7, 2017

'It's time to get animated' new campaign reveals gender bias in childhood cartoons


7 March 2017, London: Today, on the eve of International Women’s Day, the charity Inspiring Girls International founded by Miriam Gonzalez launches a new campaign about gender disparity and stereotyping affecting our children through childhood role models.

This campaign builds upon last year’s campaign, #RedrawTheBalance, which shone a light on the fact that gender stereotypes form between 5-7 years of age. This year the campaign focuses on one of the key reinforcers of those stereotypes – the animation industry.

The campaign, ‘It’s Time To Get Animated’, exposes the gender bias in childhood cartoons where only 29% of all animated characters are women*. These role models shape our children and ingrain gender sterotyping at a young age, as they watch and learn from Bob The Builder, Postman Pat alongside the few princesses or lovelorn females.

Launching today, 'It’s Time to Get Animated' will reveal the characters that children don’t yet see and invites the viewer to #RedrawTheBalance.

The pro-bono campaign has been made for the Inspiring Girls International by leading creative agency MullenLowe London. The charity, set up and chaired by Miriam Gonzalez, is dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting girls with female role models. To make a difference volunteers can sign up here: and pledge just one hour per year to visit a school to talk to a group of girls about their life, career, ups and downs, choices and experiences in the work place and in life.

Miriam Gonzalez explains: “There is an inner role model inside every single woman and young girls should look up to them to realise the possibilities they have in life. That is why we have set up Inspiring Girls International. Because we want to make it easy for girls all around the world to have access to female role models no matter where they live.

This campaign reveals how from a very early age, children receive a stereotyped vision of the world. The lack of female leading characters in animation is just the reflection of an unbalanced society and affects the self-confidence of girls that continues later on in their lives.”

At the centre of the campaign an online film, directed by Sophie Markatatos at Strange Beast, follows female animator Sophie Marka talking about how, in her industry, lead characters are still mostly men. The film is supported by four print executions; ‘Angela The Astronaut’ designed by Lizzie Campbell, ‘Cathy The Carpenter’ designed by Be Towers, ‘Sally The Scientist’ by Ariane Pelissoni and ‘Carla The Coder’ by Abigail de la Cruz.

Animator Sophie Marka explains: "It’s important for children, especially young girls, to see female role models because it’s creating an image in their head so they know that they can do certain things and become what they want. Children should see women in animated films because films should be the reflection of our society. For me it’s really important to talk about this subject to raise awareness.

Behind the scenes in the creative industry, only 20% of animators are female**. MullenLowe London challenged this industry norm by building an almost entirely female team including the animator, four female illustrators, editor, director, sound designers, musicians and producers.

Richard Denney, ECD of MullenLowe London comments “The creative and media industry clearly plays an important role in a child’s early perception of the world and how they see their place in it. The stats are shocking, both onscreen and behind the scenes, and we have a huge responsibility to act so that girls aim high and become the future. Other than a couple of token men including myself, we made sure the team surrounding this incredible project was built on female talent. You have to practice what you preach.

The global campaign launches on 7th March as Miriam presents the Inspiring Girls initiative in Brussels to the European Parliament and the European Commission in a speed mentoring event with 50 school girls and 12 high profile women, including the European Commissioners Vera Jourova and Margrethe Vestager, the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly and Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby.

The 2016 #RedrawTheBalance film, shot on location at Whitstable Junior School in Kent with 20 children between the ages of 5 and 7, was an enormous success, attracting 30 million views and famous influencers including Emma Watson, Geena Davis, Sir Ken Robinson and NASA.

*Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media ‘Gender Bias Without Borders’
**Women In Animation

For more information:

Grace Wright, MullenLowe London
+44 7775 030 084

About Inspiring Girls International

Inspiring Girls International is a charity dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting girls with female role models. Their goal is to expose the girls to all the different options they might have in life and inspire them to aim high.

The initiative has already been launched in Spain, Serbia and Italy and it will be followed by the US (Washington DC); Colombia, Argentina and Brazil in Latinamerica; UAE in the Middle East; and Zambia and Uganda in Africa.

They ask volunteers to give just 1 hour per year to go back to school and talk to the girls about the careers, their lives, etc.

About Miriam Gonzalez

Miriam Gonzalez is a partner of international law firm Dechert LLP and co-chairs the firm’s International Trade and Government Regulation practice.

Prior to joining Dechert, Miriam led the trade practice of another major international law firm. She previously served seven years as a Senior Member of the Cabinet for EU External Relations Commissioners Chris Patten and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, where she had responsibility for EU relations and trade with the Middle East, the U.S. and Latin America, as well as a FCO adviser during the UK Presidency of the European Union.

Miriam is a Non-Executive Member of the Board and Chair of the Audit Committee of UBS Limited. She is also the Honorary President of Canning House and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Instituto de Empresa in Spain.

She set up Inspiring Girls International after having successfully led the Inspiring Women campaign in the UK, run by the Education and Employers Taskforce charity.

About MullenLowe London

MullenLowe London is a creative communications company with a strong populist creative heritage and challenger mentality. We use creativity to get our clients’ brands an Unfair Share of Attention. With an integrated operating model we believe better ideas come from working together - we call this hyperbundling – and from it we create coherent, effective, channel neutral creative solutions for our clients cost efficiently. Our clients include British Heart Foundation, Post Office, Sloggi, Western Union, Etihad, the Government, and Unilever including Persil, Knorr and TRESemmé. Recently named UK Effie Awards Agency of the Year 2016.

We are part of the MullenLowe Group a creatively driven integrated marketing communications network. We are a global creative boutique of distinctive diverse agencies, rich in local culture with both intimacy and scale, present in more than 65 markets with over 90 agencies. We are consistently ranked among the most awarded creative and effective agency networks in the world, and have topped the Effie Index as the most effective global network in terms of points per dollar revenue for the past 6 consecutive years. MullenLowe Group is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG).

For more information, visit us at or follow us on Twitter & Instagram @MullenLoweLDN and on