The Rumor: Disney used to have a policy stating that women could not be hired at the animation studio outside of the Ink and Paint department.
The Truth: It's sadly true, though no longer the case. As the above 1938 rejection letter received by animator Mary Ford reads, "Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that work is performed entirely by young men." (Read the full letter here.) The concern was that Disney would invest a considerable amount of time and money in training a new animator only to lose that investment when she "inevitably" left to get married and start a family. This says more about the culture of the time than about women animators, who may well have been happy to keep their jobs had they lived in a society that allowed them to do so.
There were a few happy exceptions to this sexist policy. Mary Blair was a conceptual artist at Disney whose bold, graphic artwork was extremely influential on the Disney films and parks. Retta Scott created animation for a number of Disney films, including 'Bambi,' where she drew not adorable baby bunnies, but the ferocious hunting dogs that torment Bambi and Faline. The many women who worked at the Ink and Paint department over the years are among the unsung heroes of the Disney studio. None of the classic Disney films could have existed without them tracing and coloring every drawing of every character onto clear sheets to be filmed.