Married women and mothers can now compete in Miss Universe

Australian women hoping to take the crown in the Miss Universe pageant will be subject to some groundbreaking new rules.

For the first time in the institution’s history, the competition is expanding its eligibility rules to allow married women and mothers to compete.

The historic changes will be in place for the first time in the 2023 competition, as the preliminary pageants for this year’s global event have already happened.

The current 70-year-old rules state that only single women aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, are allowed to apply.

Pink Tank Events, which runs Miss Universe Australia, confirmed to that the changes would apply to Australian women entering the 2023 paegent.

The age bracket however, will remain the same, a source close to the organisation confirmed to Insider.

“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,” an internal memo seen by The National said.

Josh Yugen, chief executive of Yugen Group and the national director of Miss Universe Bahrain, told that publication:“The Miss Universe Organisation is always the greatest and most innovative platform of its kind and now it will be more inclusive and welcoming to mothers and married women.

“For me, this is aligned with what I have been fighting for – breaking stereotypes and unlearning the stigma that the old society has forced on us from many decades ago.”

Mexican Andrea Meza, who was crowned Miss Universe 2020, told Insider that the rule change was long overdue.

“I honestly love that this is happening,” Andrea 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 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 old rules affected Meza after her victory when internet sleuths found an Instagram post of her in a wedding gown with a tuxedo-wearing man on top of a cliff, with the caption “3-09-19.”

However, a spokesperson for Miss Universe told Insider at the time that the image was from a photo shoot she had done while working as the official tourism brand ambassador for Chihuahua, where she lived in Mexico.

Meza had a message for people who don’t like the new rules.

“A few people are against these changes because they always wanted to see a single, beautiful woman who is available for a relationship,” she said.

“They always wanted to see a woman that from the outside looks so perfect that she’s almost unreachable. The former is sexist and the latter is unrealistic.

“Just like in any other industry, women are capable of having demanding leadership positions without or with a family, it is no different in this case.”

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