Every year, The Billboard Women in Music Awards makes it apparent that women hold a strong place in the music and entertainment industry. This year was no exception. Kelly Clarkson, Solange, Grace VanderWaal, and Selena Gomez were just a few of the amazing women honored at this star-studded event held in Hollywood a few weeks ago and while every woman is unique in her own regard, there was one common message from all of them: the importance of female empowerment and shifts in the industry.

This year has been revealing for women in the industry and each of the recipients offered different perspectives on how to overcome the adversity thrown at them every single day. Kelly Clarkson, who accepted the Powerhouse Award, noted that it is possible for women to work together towards a common goal, and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down, citing her performance with P!nk at the AMA’s she said, “Just accept the fact that there’s room for everyone… Once women start really respecting each other as artists, then men will.”

Solange made sure to point out a huge shift in the industry, seeing artists take control of their careers and creating their own standards while accepting the Impact Award. The youngest of the recipients, Grace VanderWaal gave a heartfelt speech while accepting the Rising Star Award. She made sure to acknowledge all the people who helped her succeed, including America’s Got Talent judge Heidi Klum, who presented her the award.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night was Selena Gomez accepting the biggest honor of the night, Woman of the Year. Gomez, who has been battling lupus most of her life, took the stage after Elle Fanning and Francia Raisa introduced her. Raisa donated her kidney to Gomez earlier this year, after the lupus began to attack her kidneys. Gomez immediately took to the mic saying, “I think Francia should be getting this award because, she saved my life.” Following was a declaration of thanks to her family, friends, and peers who have kept her mind off things for the past several months. Gomez closed by saying, “I’ve never felt more proud to be a woman in the industry than I do today, and that’s because I actually feel comfortable with every single woman that has encouraged me.” She went on to thank the “older women” in the room for being inspiring to so many other girls in the industry and giving them a voice.

Overall, the night was filled with praises of encouragement and the #girlgang that was honored truly represents some of the best examples of women in the industry. Personally, I can’t wait to see what these women will tackle this upcoming year!