The Senior women's race at the 1981 IAAF World Cross Country Championships was held in Madrid, Spain, at the Hippodromo de la Zarzuela on March 28, 1981. A report on the event was given in the Glasgow Herald.
Complete results, medallists,  and the results of British athletes were published.
Senior women's race (4.41 km)
- Note: Athletes in parentheses did not score for the team result
An unofficial count yields the participation of 118 athletes from 22 countries in the Senior women's race. This is in agreement with the official numbers as published.
- ^ Gillon, Doug (March 19, 1973), Muir dream is shattered in Madrid - Nat Muir, who went to Madrid with dreams of becoming world cross-county champion, spent yesterday with his coach trying to work out why it became a nichtmare..., Glasgow Herald, p. 20, retrieved October 18, 2013
- ^ Magnusson, Tomas (February 8, 2007), IAAF World Cross Country Championships - 4.4km CC Women - Madrid Hippodromo de la Zarzuela Date: Saturday, March 28, 1981, Athchamps (archived), retrieved October 18, 2013
- ^ IAAF WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, Athletics Weekly, retrieved October 9, 2013
- ^ a b 36th IAAF WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS - EDINBURGH 2008 - FACTS & FIGURES - GREAT BRITAIN & NORTHERN IRELAND AT THE INTERNATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY & WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, IAAF, p. 2ff, retrieved October 9, 2013