The former All Blacks and current Black Ferns team doctor, Dr Deb Robinson has been appointed as New Zealand Rugby's first female representative on the World Rugby Council.
Dr Robinson joins New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew and Board member Mark Robinson as New Zealand's representatives on the Council, following World Rugby governance reforms introduced to accelerate women's representation on and off the field.
Under the reform, the 11 unions and six regional associations, who currently have an additional vote but no additional representative, have the right to send an additional representative to Council subject to that person being female. This will increase the number of people who may sit on Council from 32 to 49, with the 17 new representatives to be women.
The governance reform approved by World Rugby in November, is part of a wider strategy under the 2017-25 Women's Plan to accelerate women in rugby on and off the field of play and bring gender-balance to the highest levels of its governance.
Robinson is the current team doctor for the world champion Black Ferns and spent seven years as doctor for the All Blacks, including their winning 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign.
"Joining the Council is a great opportunity to continue my contribution to the game at a governance level.
"Player welfare is at the forefront of a lot of what World Rugby is doing and I can offer expertise in that area as someone who has been heavily involved in rugby medicine" said Dr Robinson.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Dr Robinson will bring vast experience and knowledge to the Council.
"It is really positive to see World Rugby lead the way with this governance reform and we're looking forward to have Deb join us on the Council.
"Deb's involvement in rugby has been, and continues to be, first class and she will no doubt prove to be a very valuable contributor on the Council," said Tew.
World Rugby's 2017-25 Women's Plan underpins a commitment to be a global leader in sport, where women have equal opportunities in all areas, are integrated in strategy, plans and structures and, make highly valued contributions to participation, performance, leadership and investment in the global game.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "This a major milestone in the progression and growth of World Rugby and the global game. 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."