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Why Latin Music Is Missing Women’s Representation

It is no surprise that music, like most top grossing industries, is lacking in female representation. In the U.S, when thinking of popular artists, women like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift come to mind. However, the work that goes on behind the scenes is often controlled by men.

The absence of women is particularly palpable in the Latin music industry. Daniela Bosé, Bertelsmann Music Group’s managing director for Spain and Portugal, was shocked at the small number of women who work in her field, and felt that she should do something to raise awareness.

Mujeres de la Música, or “Women of Music,” is a 78-minute documentary on women music executives in Spain. The film features interviews with 14 women: 11 executives, one journalist, and two recording artists.

In the documentary, Bosé says, “While we’re not worse off than when I started, we’re in a similar position and I’ve been in this field for over 20 years, and things should have improved notably.” She is absolutely right. The history of progress is an upward trend, and while we are getting closer to equality between the sexes over time, it’s happening far too slowly.

Bosé continues, “I’m one of the few women who are top executives in a territory. I do see fantastic women in legal, marketing and communication positions, but it bothers me that no woman presides over a record company. It bothers me to see the lack of women in [Spain’s] sales charts.

She also told Billboard that while women can find places in marketing or middle management, these are comfortable positions typically seen as suitable for women. However, upon trying to rise to the top for live performances and owning record labels, most are not given the opportunity. To put it simply, she says, “money is in the hands of men.”

The purpose of her documentary is empowerment, and her audience is, “young women who still haven’t made it to the top. We’re providing them our legacy and expertise. The point is to gain visibility and break down barriers.”

The incredibly strong business women featured in this documentary have given excellent insight into what it’s really like to be a woman in the music industry. Here are a few of their comments.

Rosa Lagarrigue, founder and CEO of RLM says, “To get ahead, women have to be super women. Women have to be brilliant. There are no mediocre women who triumph. It’s important not to get bogged down with obstacles or sexism. Don’t waste time playing those games. Always forge ahead. If you work well, if you’re excellent at what you do, if you put the time, everyone is put in their place.”

On the hypersexualization of female artists, Inma Grass, co-founder and director of communications at Altafonte says, “Why do women have to be bombshells? Why isn’t it enough for them to be great singers? And I suppose it’s because men pull those strings, although I imagine some women want to be bombshells. But I’m an optimist. And every day I see more women composers, producers, lighting managers, A&Rs; predominantly male roles are also being filled  by women.”

Their words speak volumes, and we should all be eager to listen.

Featured Image by Ana Carolina Kley Vita on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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