Miss Universe to allow mothers, married and pregnant women to compete
2020 Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, poses for the media during her visit to the Empire State Building on May 18, 2021, in New York. The next Miss Universe competition will take place in December in Eilat, Israel. The Miss Universe Organization also announced Tuesday, July 20, 2021, that the contest will again broadcast live in the US on Fox with Steve Harvey returning to host. This will be the 70th Miss Universe competition and will end with Meza crowning her successor. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The Miss Universe pageant is set to permit married women, mothers, pregnant women and women who have kids to compete for the first time in its long history.

The rule change will take effect for the 72nd Miss Universe pageant in 2023, according to an internal memo which was leaked online.

Preliminary pageants have already begun for this year's Miss Universe, scheduled to be held in December.

A source close to the Miss Universe organisation confirmed the rule change with Insider and stated that the memo was distributed to national directors on Friday.

"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 memo read, according to The National.

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 prior to the rule change. But, the age requirement will remain the same, the source confirmed to Insider.

Miss Universe 2020 winner Andrea Meza, told Insider it’s “about time” the pageant rule is amended.

"I honestly love that this is happening," she told Insider in an exclusive interview.

"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," Meza, who represented Mexico, was quoted.

She added a message for those who had an issue with the new rule.

"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."

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