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Poonam Singh

In a significant and historic step, the Miss Universe pageant is making new changes in the selection criteria of the contestants.

The international beauty pageant is expanding eligibility for its competition by allowing mothers and married women to enter leaving behind its decades-old rules.

As per the Miss Universe pageant's rules, winners had to be single during their entire tenure with the title. 

Traditionally, the winners are also expected not to become pregnant while reigning as Miss Universe, resulting in the exclusion of mothers.

However, from next year, irrespective of their marital and parental status contestants' eligibility will not be affected.

Reportedly, an internal memo of the Miss Universe pageant said it has always strived to evolve with the times and the latest decision was the natural next step.

“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,” said the memo.

Meanwhile, Miss Universe 2020 winner Andrea Meza has welcomed the decision and praised the pageants for changing existing rules which she labelled as 'sexist' and 'unrealistic'. 

Speaking to Insider, Meza said, "I honestly love that this is happening." "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,"  added Meza.

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