Carol Isherwood OBE has become the first woman to be appointed to the IRB Rugby Committee.
Isherwood, who has worked in the game for more than 25 years as a player, a coach and an administrator, will be followed onto the committee by "a leading coach and former international player" at some point in the next few weeks, according to the IRB.
"We are privileged that Carol has joined the IRB Rugby Committee. She brings with her a wealth of experience including playing for England, serving England Rugby as an administrator and coaching Women's Rugby at the highest level," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"This is a very positive step for Rugby and Women's Rugby around the world. Carol will help inform IRB decisions on a range of playing matters including Laws, the international match schedule, player welfare and the training of coaches and officials as well as the global development of the Women's Game."
Isherwood added: "I am really looking forward to contributing to the essential service the Committee provides for the whole Game and hope I can bring new ideas and a fresh perspective with me."