(Reuters) - At least a third of the members of the World Rugby Council will be women from next year, the sport's governing body announced on Thursday as a part of a push to further gender equality at all levels of the organisation.
World Rugby said it would boost the number of seats on the decision-making body to 49 from 32, with all the additional positions going to women, after a governance reform proposal was approved unanimously.
The reform will allow the 11 rugby unions and six regional associations, which currently have an additional vote but no additional representative, an extra women's representative on the World Rugby Council.
"This is a major milestone in the progression and growth of World Rugby and the global game," World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.
"The reform is historic, reflective of our ambitions and long overdue. If we are to promote and nurture the growth of women in rugby, then change must be led from the top."
The Council also ratified the 2017-25 Women's Plan, an initiative to promote equal opportunities for women in all areas of the organisation.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman)