This year’s CMT Artists of the Year special will feature all women honorees and will be dedicated to celebrating female country artists throughout the decades. Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman make up this year’s list of honorees.
In a statement, CMT Senior VP Leslie Fram said the network hopes to inspire change within the male-dominated country music industry.
“In this monumental year for women, dedicating one of the biggest nights in the genre to applaud female country artists not only solidifies our commitment, but we hope will spark a much-needed change in the industry,” Fram said.
In addition to her position at CMT, Fram is also a member of Change the Conversation, an organization dedicated to fighting gender inequality in the music industry.
In 2013, CMT launched its Next Women of Country series to spotlight female country artists.
The lack of women on country radio has been a huge topic of discussion for several years now. CMT’s announcement comes just weeks after the announcement of the 2018 CMA Nominations, which sparked criticism. Not a single female artist was nominated in the Entertainer of the Year category and no solo female artists were nominated in the Song of the Year or Single of the Year categories.
On Oct. 17, the day of the CMT Artists of the Year special, CMT will play all women country artists across all network platforms for a daylong celebration of women in country music.
Last year’s CMT Artists of the Year nominees included Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.
This year’s CMT Artists of the Year special will air live from Nashville on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. CT on CMT. Additional guests will be announced in the coming weeks.