Women in the Lead: Music Executives Talk Importance of Empowering Young Girls

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Rebeca León is a forced to be reckoned with. As one of the few female managers in the Latin music industry, she oversees Colombian superstar Juanes’ career and co-manages reggaetón phenom J Balvin, León was a powerful voice on the Women in the Lead panel at the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Conference.

During the insightful and inspiring discussion, which addressed the lack of female representation in the music industry -- specifically in Latin music -- León, alongside recording artists Becky G, Yuridia and Karol G, Spotify’s Rocio Guerrero and Dr. Stacy Smith, founder of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, took center stage to speak about the importance of empowering women at a very young age.

León, particularly, was passionately outspoken about how crucial it is to constantly remind little girls that they too can dream big and have it all. “I think that we really have to teach girls to think that everything is possible,” León said. Adding, “As children, boys are taught to be brave and girls are taught to be perfect … I think we have to program young girls to believe that they are brave and that they can do whatever they want.”

The music exec, who recently celebrated her 20th anniversary in the music business, said that she struggled at first to identify someone she looked toward for inspiration when she was growing up. Then she saw Princess Leia on the big screen.

“She was like the first woman example that I saw growing up,” León shared. “The first woman I said, ‘I want to be like her.’ She runs the army, she runs with the boys, she’s hot, she’s cool. I want to be like Princess Leia. I need to find her in my real life. And that’s what I think we all need to fix.” 

León continued, “For the younger girls, we need to give them examples of women who can do this so they can aspire to do this. We’re failing as a society to give good references as women for something for them to aspire to.”

Like most of the panelists and panel attendees, León left feeling hopeful and empowered to create change and help amplify female voices.

“It’s a time for us to really come together. We have to get behind these girls and show them as much support as we can. Find young women that we also think are killing it, give them opportunities and let them have their moment too … It’s so simple if we just believe that everything is possible,” she said.  

This content was created in paid partnership with American Airlines.