Prominent women from across New Jersey gathered Sunday at Montclair State University to pay tribute to those who paved the way for them.

U.S Sen. Robert Menendez  hosted the 12th annual Evangelina Menendez Women’s History Month Celebration and Trailblazer Awards, which honored New Jersey women who have made an impact in their fields.

Menendez kicked off the inspiring event by honoring his late mother, who emigrated from Cuba… “She set out as a refugee toward unknown shores in an uncertain future, arriving first in Puerto Rico, later New York City. I can’t imagine the remarkable bravery she needed to start over again and come to a place she had never been,” Menendez said.

A panel of keynote speakers joined, including Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke at the event. “For every advance that we have made, and thank goodness they have been so quick and so positive over so many years, we are living now at a time when there is a concerted effort to push women aside,” Clinton said.

The panelists stressed that even though women have made significant progress, work still has to be done to eradicate issues that heavily affect women, like equal pay, and acknowledge recent accomplishments.

“It’s because of so many of you, and women like you, that I entered Congress in the largest class of women,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill. “That has led to better addressing sexual assault and harassment in our military, bringing attention to the deficit in child care in our country, working in Congress to better implement the vision of Title 9, and a focus on better health outcomes for women.”

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