World Rugby has announced that its 15s and sevens Rugby World Cup competitions will no longer include gender in their titles.
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.
The move will ensure the competitions have equal billing, regardless of whether the events feature men or women. The purpose is to elevate the profile of the women’s game, while eliminating any inherent or perceived bias towards men’s only competitions and tournaments, which traditionally haven’t specified gender.
The decision to adopt a consistent approach to the naming of these events and tournaments was based on a recommendation brought before Council by the Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) Board.
It is underpinned by World Rugby’s key strategic priority to advance gender balance at all levels of rugby under its global action plan.
“This announcement demonstrates our ongoing and unwavering commitment to advancing women in rugby both on and off the field in line with our ambitious strategic plan,” said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“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. 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.”
The expansion of women’s rugby continues to exceed expectations worldwide, with the sport experiencing unprecedented global growth. Participation levels are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players globally – making up more than a quarter of the global playing population.
This includes a 28 per cent rise in registered players since 2017. For the second year running, more young girls have got into rugby globally than boys and more than 40 per cent of rugby’s 400m fanbase are female.