Bath are to apply for a licence to have a Premier 15s team.
The Premiership club is teaming up with Bath Rugby Ladies to develop a women’s team and a development pathway for girls playing the sport.
The club is the second Premiership side this month to announce plans for a women’s team after London Irish unveiled a similar intention.
The current licence period for the 10 clubs currently in the Premier 15s concludes in the summer of 2023.
Exeter and Sale were awarded new licences last year and made their debuts this season, finishing sixth and ninth respectively in the 10-team league.
Eight of Premiership Rugby’s 13 constituent clubs currently have sides in the Premier 15s – Newcastle, Leicester and Northampton are the others, along with Bath and Irish, without a top-flight women’s side.
“Women and girls don’t have a clear pathway to the professional game – it’s one of the biggest barriers to entry and one of the many stark comparisons against the men’s game,” said Bath chief executive Tarquin McDonald.
“What has been very important to us during this process, and will continue to be the case, is a sustainable approach.
“We want to ensure that the club is providing a pathway for the long-term growth of the women and girls’ game, one that helps drive demand for the sport, answers that demand with playing opportunities and harnesses increased participation into a pathway for a successful professional team,” he added to the club website.
Bath Rugby Ladies currently play in the Championship South – the second tier of the women’s game in England.
“This is a significant moment for women’s rugby in the region,” said the club’s head coach John Gould.
“We have made huge strides on and off the field, recruiting over 100 members thanks to the efforts of Bath RFC, our players and volunteers, and the RFU’s Inner Warrior programme.
“This opportunity with Bath Rugby will now help us accelerate those efforts, ultimately putting us on a path to the Premiership and encouraging more women and girls to take up the sport, developing future talent.”