But any pretense of social progress upon the advent of a women's award went out the window at Monday's ceremony when French DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg to twerk while presenting her with her Ballon d'Or.
An uncomfortable Hegerberg brushed off Solveig's question, but it stunned onlookers.
"No", Hegerberg replied, before awkwardly turning away.
But Hegerberg's historic success was overshadowed by the reaction to a comment made by Solveig moments after she collected the trophy.
The football world was furious at the incident, on what should have been an empowering event for women in the sport.
But fans had plenty more to say about DJ Solveig as a clip of the query about the bum-shaking dance racked up millions of views on Twitter. "I share this with Olympique Lyonnais, my teammates, the staff", she said on stage during a speech, according to the news service.
"I didn't mean to offend anyone and I didn't know that this could be seen as such an offense", he said in a video message.
On social networks, reactions were sharp, like that of the ex-world number 1 tennis Andy Murray.
She said no, and was laughed off stage by presenter Martin Solveig, who asked the question. "And to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke.it wasn't I've been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal". "Unbelievable. She just won the first ever Ballon d'Or for women".
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The 23-year-old saw off competition from the likes of Danish star Pernille Harder, of German club VfL Wolfsburg, and Brazil's Marta - victor of FIFA's best player prize - to take the prize organised by France Football magazine following a vote by journalists from around the world.
"[Hegerberg is] a phenomenal young player, who has scored over 250 goals".
"It's all about how we respect women's football".
"I didn't really consider it as sexual harassment or anything in the moment". The prolific striker has abstained from playing for Norway's national team since 2017 because of the country's treatment of its women's national team.
"Together we'll make a difference".
It was all the more awkward seeing as the footballer's speech was referencing her hopes of inspiring girls to believe in themselves.
20x20 is an ambitious two-year long initiative to better promote and champion women in sport.
Hegerburg claimed the award - voted for by journalists - after seeing off Wolfsburg and Denmark forward Pernille Harder, German midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, and England and Lyon defender Lucy Bronze.