WOMEN
10/25/2012 11:19 am ET

Disney Hired Brenda Chapman Because She's A Woman. Good Decision.

Actors and writers in Hollywood generally dodge direct questions about the role that race or gender have played in their careers, so it's decidedly refreshing to hear Brenda Chapman, the creative force behind Brave, address the issue head-on. “We need a woman. And you’re the right price,” she says she was told by the Disney higher-up who hired her in 1987.

Despite that jarring sound bite, Chapman writes about her experience as the first woman working in Disney Animation's story department as a largely a positive one. Rather than isolating her, Chapman's male colleagues treated her hiring as a more important crack in the glass ceiling than even she was inclined to do. And her impact on the team was more than just symbolic. "I think by just having my presence in the room, and because we had such a mutual respect for each other, the men were more aware of what might be condescending, or to put it bluntly, 'sexist' toward women in their work," she writes. "We all seemed to work together trying to move the Disney fairy tale into a more contemporary point of view for the heroines—and the audience."

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