Married Women And Mums Will Now Be Eligible For The Miss Universe Pageant In New Ruling

Throughout its 70-year long history, the Miss Universe pageant has famously never allowed mothers and married women from participating in the competition. Now, new rulings will change this.

Admittedly, the Miss Universe pageant seems somewhat dated in 2022. Throughout the 70 years that the competition has run, only single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, were allowed to apply. Such a ruling seemed only to reinforce the enduring power of the patriarchy, reducing these women to the narrow ideals of beauty as upheld by society. Now, officials have announced that the pageant will overturn previous rulings to accept married women and mums in the contest. 

News of the changes comes after The National reportedly accessed an internal memo which revealed the contest’s new decision as one that will help them “evolve with the times” as it heads into 2023. As the publication reports, the memo read: “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.”

For those uninitiated with the Miss Universe pageant, contestants go through a vigorous selection process that includes extensive interviews, swimsuit or athletic wear and evening gown photoshoots, followed by their participation in the live show. According to Josh Yugen, chief executive of Yugen Group and national director of Miss Universe Bahrain, “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.”

Yugen added, “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, many decades ago.”

From the website, the Miss Universe pageant explains that the winner of the competition “must be confident.” It adds, “She must understand the values of our brand and the responsibilities of the title. She must have the ability to articulate her ambition. A delegate should demonstrate authenticity, credibility and exhibit grace under pressure. The women who compete embody the modern, global aspiration for the potential within all women.”

While the Miss Universe pageant has gifted Australia a number of role models like our recent cover girl, Jesinta Franklin, if the competition wants to survive in an age where women are empowered and want to choose their own path in life, free of societal expectations and the stereotypes projected by the male gaze, such changes must be made. It seems now we can only wonder, what took them so long to make them?

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