World Rugby drops gender titles for World Cup in its aim for gender equality

In its aim to lessen gender bias in the sport, the World Rugby organisation will no longer use gender in its tournament titles


In an effort to achieve gender neutrality in the sport, World Rugby has announced that both 15s and sevens women's rugby will no longer include gender in their titles.

From 2021, the tournaments will simply be known as the Rugby World Cup. This is a first for a major sporting organisation. The male equivalent holds no reference to gender in its title.

'Commitment to equality'

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In a statement World Rugby said, "World Rugby has announced its flagship 15s and sevens Rugby World Cup properties will no longer include gender in their titles, furthering its commitment to equality and brand consistency across its portfolio.

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"In a first for a major sporting federation, the women’s designation will be dropped from Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand which will now be named Rugby World Cup 2021, starting the global rollout."

The statement continued, "The purpose is to elevate the profile of the women’s game, while eliminating any inherent or perceived bias towards men-only competitions and tournaments, which traditionally haven’t specified gender.”

World Rugby said this decision "is underpinned by World Rugby’s key strategic priority to advance gender balance at all levels of rugby under its ambitious global action plan".

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont believes the organisation needs to be leading from the front on issues regarding gender balance in sports and that this decision "is setting new standards in equality in rugby."

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Female participation

According to World Rugby, there has been a substantial increase in interest and participation in women's rugby, with 2.7 million players worldwide. This figure is an all-time high. For the second year running, more young girls have started playing rugby than boys.

The reaction to the news online has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority believing this is a brilliant stepping stone on the way to a level playing field.

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Image: World Rugby Twitter

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