Little Mix thanked Jesy Nelson as they made history as the first female band to win the Brit Award for best British group.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards took to the stage at the O2 Arena in London, dedicating the gong to groups such as the Spice Girls who paved the way.
Edwards said: “Guys, we’ve just made history! I’m emotional.”
Pinnock added: “It’s not easy being a female in the UK pop industry.
“We have seen white male dominance, misogyny, sexism and lack of diversity.
“We are proud of how we have stuck together, stood our ground and surrounded ourselves with strong women and are now using our voices more than ever.”
It was their first Brit win without Nelson, who quit the X Factor-formed girl group in December, saying the high-profile role had “taken a toll” on her mental health.
It was the outfit’s third Brit in total, after they won best single in 2017 for Shout Out To My Ex and best video in 2019 for Woman Like Me featuring Nicki Minaj.
The Spice Girls applauded the win on Twitter, saying: “Congratulations @LittleMix Doing it for the Girls!!”
Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts wrote: “My girl band heart is so happy @LittleMix have just won best band @BRITs !!! The first girl band to ever be awarded it! Proud of you ladies !”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: “Congratulations to @LittleMix – the first female act to win British Group at the @BRITs. It’s about time!”
In comes after Pinnock and Edwards announced surprise pregnancies this month, and the pair joked on stage that they had “baby brains”.
Pinnock revealed she was expecting her first child with footballer fiance Andre Gray, sharing photos on Instagram in which she is seen cradling her baby bump.
The next week Edwards announced she and boyfriend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also a footballer, were expecting, writing: “So happy to be on this wild journey with my soulmate.”
Little Mix formed on The X Factor in 2011 and have become one of the country’s biggest-selling girl bands.
They left Simon Cowell’s Syco Music for the RCA label in November 2018.
In December Nelson left the group. She had spoken openly about her battle with anxiety and previously revealed in a BBC documentary called Odd One Out that abuse on social media got so bad she attempted to take her own life.
In January, she scored her final number one with Little Mix after single Sweet Melody, from their recent album Confetti, topped the charts.