Miss Universe to now allow married women, mothers to participate?

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What has thus far been a contest exclusively for single women from around the world, will now become more inclusive. The Miss Universe pageant is going to expand to also make married women and mothers eligible for participation.

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According to reports, the new format will be rolled out in 2023 for the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, and marital and parental status will no longer be a criteria for contestants’ eligibility. The current rules state that the Miss Universe title winner has to be single and remain so until her tenure ends when a new winner is crowned.

Mothers have never been a part of the contest in all these years, and pageant winners have been expected to not get pregnant while they are reigning and discharging their duties.

Andrea Meza, a Mexican model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe 2020, lauded this move. She was quoted as telling Insider, “I honestly love that this is happening. Just like society changes and women are now occupying leadership positions where in the past only men could, it was about time pageants changed and opened up to women with families.”

Meza added, “There are a lot of women that got married young or had kids in their early 20s and they always wanted to participate in Miss Universe, but couldn’t because of the rules. Now those women can start or boost their careers in entertainment because of these changes.”

The internal memo on this new change was cited by The National, which stated in a report that the organisation “always strived to evolve with the times and the latest decision was the natural next step”.

“We all believe that women should have agency over their lives and that a human’s personal decisions should not be a barrier to their success,” the memo purportedly read.

According to the Insider report, before the rule change, only women between 18 and 28 years of age — who had never been married and had no children — were allowed to participate. The age bracket, however, will remain the same, Insider reported.

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