World Rugby has declared it will adopt a policy of gender neutrality for their World Cup tournaments from 2021 onward, in a ground-breaking first for a major sporting federation.
This means that the women’s world cup competition will now simply be referred to as the Rugby World Cup, with the women’s designation dropped from the title. The men’s competition will continue to fall under this same name.
The decision to drop genders from the competition titles marks a commitment by the sport to elevating the profile of the women’s game and from a branding perspective, the women’s game will receive an equal billing.
World Rugby hopes the move will also be helpful in eliminating any unintentional gender bias.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said the change demonstrates an ongoing commitment to advancing women’s rugby.
“Unintentional gender bias in sport is an ongoing issue. As a global sporting federation, we need to be leading from the front on the issue of equality,” he said.
“By adopting gender balance in the naming of men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup competitions, we are setting new standards in equality in rugby.”
World Rugby announces gender neutral naming for Rugby World Cup tournaments
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 21, 2019
Adopting a consistent approach to the naming of World Rugby events is part of a strategic priority to advance gender balance at all levels of rugby under a global action plan, Accelerating the global development of women in rugby 2017-25.
World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chair Serge Simon said: “This is much more than an initiative – it is the ultimate statement of equality and a first for sport.”
“I am excited about this landmark decision, but this is the beginning of the journey. Together, we are working hard to do something very special for women, for the game.”