After more than 70 years, the global Miss Universe pageant is making “inclusive” changes to its selection process.
Starting next year, the pageant will allow married women and mothers to compete in the competition, British media The Independent reports.
“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 pageant said in a statement.
The new rules will take effect for the 72nd Miss Universe pageant in 2023.
Before the rule change, only women between the ages of 18 and 28 who had never been married and had no children, were allowed to compete for Miss Universe.
According to Insider, the age bracket will remain the same despite new changes.
Andrea Meza from Mexico, who had been crowned Miss Universe in 2020, said the new rule was a long time coming.
“I honestly love that this is happening,” she told the outlet. “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.
“There are a lot of women who 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,” Meza added. “Now those women can start or boost their careers in entertainment because of these changes.”
Last year’s Miss Universe pageant was won by India’s Harnaaz Sandhu.
The 21-year-old model from Punjab represented India at the 70th Miss Universe competition held in Eilat, Israel. She brought home the crown 21 years after actor Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.
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