World Rugby drops gender references from World Cup titles
“Unintentional gender bias in sport is an ongoing issue."
World Rugby has dropped the gender references from their World Cup titles.
The organisation have decided to rename the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 as the Rugby World Cup 2021, beginning a global roll-out of the gender neutral tournament names.
They said that they hope the move will eliminate gender bias from sponsorship and brands, as well as place a better focus on the women's game.
World Rugby's flagship 15s and sevens Rugby World Cup properties will all be included in the changeover.
"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," they said.
World Rugby women’s advisory committee chair Serge Simon added that the change is a first for the game.
“This is much more than an initiative – it is the ultimate statement of equality and a first for sport," he said.
"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.”
World Rugby chief marketing officer Marissa Pace added:
“World Rugby is clearly committed to equality in our sport and we decided that we no longer need to identify our marquee events with a gender bias from a brand level.
"Our three World Cup events are the pinnacle of international rugby and we wanted the focus to be on the event and the athletes, not their gender. We’re very proud to be leading the sports industry in this space.”
Participation levels in women's rugby are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players around the world.
This includes a 28 percent rise in registered players since 2017, making up one quarter of all player globally.
Since 2017, more young girls have got into rugby than boys. Over 40 percent of rugby’s 400 million fanbase are women and girls.