Rebel and Lead


Women's Forum Mexico 2017
Unleash your leadership!

8-9 November 2017
Hyatt Regency Mexico City



As important as competence and intellect are to leadership, so too should language be to instill an articulate message. When ideas are interpreted into someone else’s native language, they have the potential to take on lives of their own and inspire change.


The theme for this year’s Women’s Forum Mexico is ‟Unleash your leadership,” as a call to action that unites women seeking to overcome discrimination and become leaders in the workplace. Among the different possible Spanish translations for the phrase, Da rienda suelta al liderazgo (“Loosen the reins on leadership”) was one of the options in consideration. Setting aside its literal translation, this colloquial Mexican phrase is understood in conversation as “to set free.” However, after much deliberation and closer examination of Women’s Forum Mexico’s mission and content, revelar (reveal) proved a better option for the word “unleash” due to the number of sessions centered around encouraging SME development and nurturing women’s participation in business. Women’s Forum Mexico is also clearly about unearthing potential, tapping into emerging leadership skills, and unleashing leadership through the community’s strength and solidarity.


Hence, the choice for ¡Revela tu liderazgo! (Reveal your leadership!)


Besides “to reveal,” revelar translates as “to demonstrate” or “to uncover.” In film photography, the term revelado is used to describe the process of developing images from film negatives. The film is “revealed” in photographs, thus exposing the image that the photographer worked to capture. Similarly, one could say that the leadership of Mexican women and their organizations are still on film rolls, waiting for development and for a wider audience to fully appreciate all the details of their efforts that remain hidden in the negatives. Beyond this interpretation of the word, revelar pushed the translators to play with the word’s homophone, rebelar(se), which can be translated as “to resist, to rebel or to rise up.” Revela tu liderazgo means to stand up with no constraints and truly reveal the strength, determination, and vision of Mexican women. Playing with the relationship between the imperatives revela (reveal) and rebélate (rebel) is an effort to ensure that the underlying struggle of rebelling against a patriarchal society can be replaced by the more harmonious tone that emerges when we uncover the equality of all people, regardless of gender.


At this year’s Women’s Forum Mexico, speakers include social justice activists who rebelled against human rights violations, such as human trafficking survivor Norma Bastidas, and women who revealed that gender is no barrier to athletic achievements, like professional golfer Lorena Ochoa.


Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionist, famously said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Mandela’s powerful words transcend gender-specific expression and apply to all humanity. In keeping with Mandela’s universal wisdom, this year’s Women’s Forum Mexico will reveal that disseminating women’s words and messages is essential to achieving true equality. By giving a voice to these women from Mexico and many different countries across linguistic and cultural barriers, Women’s Forum Mexico will unleash its leadership and ensure that the efforts of these women echo across the world.