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'
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.
Related: 'Sporting legend' is no longer a title for men only
"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."
World Rugby announces gender neutral naming for Rugby World Cup tournaments
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 21, 2019
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.
This burnt me up while I was writing about women's rugby recently. Only having a gender designation in the name of the women's world cup is disrespectful and implies heirarchy. ? @WorldRugby
Women to get gender-neutral rugby World Cup from 2021 https://t.co/IIl7joetOm
— Cassidy MacDonald (@casmacdo) August 21, 2019
— Sir Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) August 21, 2019
Hell to the yes https://t.co/VhH7OvQit7
— ??????? (@Clisare) August 21, 2019
Good first steps, would be great if eventually we could have the exact same calendar for the men’s & women’s 7s series, a concurrent World Cup and ultimately a global calendar that is gender neutral including professional women’s competitions. Let’s make it happen @WorldRugby https://t.co/nQlghR0KXv
— Dave Clancy (@daveclancy11) August 21, 2019
Image: World Rugby Twitter
Read more: Why Katie Taylor should make us rethink how we support women in sport
Read more: New survey reveals that three out of five people believe women are not treated equally in Ireland
Read more: It's about bringing it to life': Irish sports star Nicci Daly on motorsport and being a role model for younger girls