In a move towards inclusivity, Miss Universe has confirmed that it will now allow mothers, divorcees, and married women to compete in the prestigious pageant. Previously, the pageant only allowed single women aged between 18 and 28 to compete.
The news was confirmed by the President of the Miss Universe Organization, Paula Shugart. In an interview with Dyan Castillejo for ANC aired on September 16, 2022, Paula also revealed plans for the 71st Miss Universe to be held in January 2023 instead of the usual December coronation to give way for the upcoming World Cup.
Paula said, "We did not want to be in the position where we felt we were precluding someone from competing if they felt they could handle the job. So if you know what the job description is, which we are going to make sure that everyone is aware, they need to be able to handle that job as Miss Universe whether they have a family or not."
Paula also added that Miss Universe is a reflection of today's society, adding, "When we started we were an outlet for women to have a voice. And now, women are able to have families, they are able to have a job, they are able to be a spokesperson. We should not be the ones to say, 'No, you can't do this.'"
Early this month, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was asked to weigh in on Miss Universe's rule change. The beauty queen had the most queenly response as she said, "I think it's really timely to allow women in whatever capacity to go after the dream of being a Miss Universe. However, I do see it would be difficult for a young mother with young children to balance the responsibility and schedule that comes with being a Miss Universe."
News of the change in pageant rules was first reported in August 2022. An email from Miss Universe Organization CEO Amy Emmerich reads, "As you know, the Miss Universe Organization has always strived to evolve with the challenging times to best represent and support women globally."
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