"What I really want to say is that it is really hard sometimes for women in music," Gaga said during her Woman of the Year acceptance speech. "It's like a f—ing boys club that we just can't get into."
The audience, including her fiancé, Taylor Kinney, and mom, Cynthia Germanotta, loudly cheered her on, People reports.
"I tried for so long, I just really wanted to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body ever in this business," she continued. "You don't always feel like when you're working that people believe that you have [a] musical background, that you understand what you're doing because you're a female."
Perhaps the doors to the boys' club are cracking open, however. Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter announced in November that they're shuttering gender-segregated music rankings in a symbolic gesture to put all artists on an equal playing field, garnering equal industry respect.
Gaga, a recent Golden Globe nominee and self-proclaimed feminist, has also previously opened up about the misogynistic and sometimes abusive environment many female musicians encounter. In 2014, she told The Times: "I had really awful experiences with men in the studio...But, I promise you that when women who are in the business that are young read this article, I hope [they understand] that you do not have to put up with that."
Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, has not only been using her platform to advocate for female artists, she's recently spoken out about sexual violence against women at large. In a Thursday Times Talk about The Hunting Ground, the acclaimed campus assault documentary featuring her original song "Til It Happens To You," Gaga opened up about surviving sexual assault as a teenager. Reflecting on her own difficult healing process, she emphasized the importance of breaking silence around these kinds of issues.
"It's like, just get rid of all that trash," she said. "Let's get rid of it together."
Even if its gender-specificity is outdated, no doubt Gaga's Woman of the Year Award was well deserved.
I would like to thank my fans from the bottom of my heart for loving me and my music, everything I have today is because of you. Always remember that if you work hard and dream passionately you can accomplish something so fantastic it's actually beyond your imagination. That's how I felt today. I'm living in a fantasy so amazing, not even on my best days as an artist could I have envisioned it. 🤘🏼