Female country stars are taking over the 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
The night's hosts, Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire, opened the show with an incredible performance featuring some of the most famous songs in country music history.
A slew of powerful female vocalists -- Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Crystal Gayle, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Tanya Tucker and Gretchen Wilson -- also took the stage for the impressive medley.
Maren Morris sang with her group, The Highwomen, which includes Natalie Hemby, Brandi Carlile and Amanda Shires.
Some of the songs featured in the opening medley included Dolly Parton's 1987 hit "Those Memories of You," Loretta Lynn's 1971 hit "You're Looking at Country," Tammy Wynette's 1967 hit "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," Tanya Tucker's 1972 song "Delta Dawn" and Gretchen Wilson's 2004 song "Redneck Woman."
Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," Terri Clark's "Better Things to Do," Sara Evans's "Born to Fly" and Martina McBride's "Independence Day" also were included.
😍 What better way to kick off the #CMAawards tonight than honoring legendary women in Country Music?! Turn on @ABCNetwork now as we continue with one-of-a-kind collaborations & much more! pic.twitter.com/RArJ5nuJPS— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) November 14, 2019
During the opening monologue, Parton, Underwood and McEntire spoke about honoring women at the award show.
"This year we're putting the spotlight on our legends, the great ladies of today and the up-and-comers changing the game," McEntire said. "And we're doing it for all the little girls watching tonight dreaming of ruling the world of country music -- or maybe just ruling the world.”
Underwood referred to Dolly and Reba as her "she-roes" and joked that for her co-hosts, no last names were necessary.
"Standing here with Dolly and Reba means the world to me, and I have loved every second of working with them," Underwood said.
"What do you call three women hosting the CMAs? Your lucky night!” Parton added.
Stars in the country music industry, including Brandi Carlile, Trisha Yearwood and Karen Fairchild among many others, have made strides in the past year towards transforming the male-dominated industry.
A study released in early 2019 by Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative showed that only 16% of the 500 songs on the Year-End Billboard Hot Country charts from 2014 to 2018 were from women.
The findings backed up long-standing patterns of female country artists being historically underrepresented not only on the charts but also in award shows and on the radio.
Strong women are now raising awareness to the lack of representation and gender disparity in the genre.