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World Rugby renames its World Cups to help tackle gender bias in sport

World Rugby has announced that its flagship 15s and sevens Rugby World Cup properties will no longer include gender in their titles. 

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 ground-breaking move will ensure that the competitions have equal billing from a brand perspective, 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 the 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 ambitious global action plan, ‘Accelerating the Global Development of Women in Rugby 2017-2025’.

This announcement follows the unveiling of World Rugby’s new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and global campaign, ‘Try and Stop Us’, which was launched in May in partnership with member unions to drive greater growth and investment in the women’s game. 

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “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. 

“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.”

WATCH: World Rugby unveils its new global identity and campaign for women’s rugby

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World Rugby renames its World Cups to help tackle gender bias in sport