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Is Miss Universe now Including Older Women in the Beauty Contest?

The Miss Universe pageant has decided to make an inclusive change to its seven-decade-old selection process. Currently, only single women aged 18 – 28, who never married and had never given birth, are allowed to participate in the contest. However, the pageant announced to allow married women and mothers to apply from now on. It is unclear whether the organization will update its age bracket yet.

Last year, Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu won the title in Israel at the 70th edition of the pageant. She will crown her successor in Costa Rica in the 71st annual MU this December. This year will be the same as before, and the change will take effect in the 72nd edition in 2023.

Miss Universe Recognizes Women’s Personal Decisions

According to an internal memo shared by media outlets, the organization believed that woman’s choices should not hinder their success. By welcoming mothers and wives, it wanted to be known as an innovative platform that was trying to be more inclusive. Some of the officials were thrilled by the move, saying that this was what they were fighting for. They said it would break the decades-old stigma forced upon them by old society.

Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza said the change was long overdue while calling previous rules “sexist” and “unrealistic”. They entertained a certain male psyche which preferred to see women with beautiful exteriors who were available for a relationship. She highlighted how women have started to occupy leadership positions, so it was about time for the pageant to recognize women with families. She also noted how it was excellent news for those women who could not compete before because of marrying early and having kids in their 20s.

Contestants are Ready

The preliminaries for this year’s Miss Universe competition have already been completed. Around 35 countries have named their representatives, and more are soon to come. The contestants include United Kingdom’s Noky Simbani, Canada’s Amelia Tu, South Korea’s Hanna Kim, Ukraine’s Viktoria Apanasenko, Thailand’s Anna Sueangam-iam, Indonesia’s Laksmi Shari De Neefe Suardana, Philippines’ Celeste Cortesi, Lebanon’s Yasmina Zaytoun, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Ngoc Chau, Iraq’s Balsam Hussein, Bhutan’s Tashi Choden, Ghana’s Engracia Afua K Mofuman, and Seychelles’ Gabriella Gonthier.

Getting Inclusive With Time

The last time the Miss Universe pageant made a historic decision was in 2012, when it allowed transgender women to compete. It broke the stereotype of a contestant being a “natural female”. Angela Ponce was the first transgender woman to compete in the global competition as Miss Spain in 2018.

The next annual MU will take place in December 2022 in Costa Rica, where current title holder Harnaaz Sandhu will crown her successor. This year will be the same as before, and the change will take effect in the 72nd annual competition in 2023.

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