Gail Mitchell Shares The Origins of Women in Music & Pushing for Representation | Women in Music

– Billboard’s own Executive
Director of R&B and hip-hop, Gail Mitchell. – Hey girl, how’s it going? – It’s going amazing! Thank you so much. We’re so happy to have your here. – I’m so excited to be here. Everything looks so gorgeous. – So, the viewers are
really curious to know, how did the Women in Music
Awards even get started? – Well, we started it in 2005. We thought that women, the female leaders in every sector of the music
industry were long overdue in terms of being recognized. So, that first year, 2005,
we honored Judy McGrath, Chief Executive at MTV networks. And then in 2007, we added
the female artist component. So, Female Artist of the Year, which we now call Woman of the Year. And the inaugural honoree that year, 2007, was Reba McEntire. So, over the last 14 years, we’ve honored more than
120 women each year: industry veterans, current female executives,
and next generation talent. – And, I know for a fact that this year we have a whopping 155 honorees. – Which shows you we’re
making a lot of progress, a lot of progress, yes. – And so, what are some
of the, I guess obstacles that you think women in the music industry are facing today? – Well, still, despite
all the positive sides, going over the last couple of years, there’s still the idea
that there’s only room for one woman at a table or in
the C-suite, which is wrong. So, that balance of
senior executive females on that level needs to be changed. Also, females of color are
sometimes very under represented, frequently under represented, so those two things we have
to continue to push for. But, one of the things that I talked to a lot of
the female industry leaders for the power event tonight and the main thing that
they talked about a lot was women taking ownership,
starting their own companies, running those, and then we
can advocate for other women and foster diversity and inclusion and keep it moving a forward. A long way to go, but we’re getting there. – So, is that what you believe we need to do to push the needle forward? – Oh, yes, we do. And, you know, sisterhood is powerful and once you get a woman
going, there’s no stopping us. So, onward and upward. – Well, I know that you and
I, we need our own table. So, forget about a seat at the table. (Gail laughs)

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