UPDATED 10pm - Promoters of the Battle of Bendigo boxing event have done a backflip and reinstated ring girls for the Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa fight.
Earlier tonight the promoters decided not to use ring girls after community outrage at women being put up as 'trophies' and conversations with event sponsor City of Greater Bendigo.
After replacing the ring girls with male "fight progress managers" for the early bouts on the undercard, the ring girls returned late in the evening before the Horn and Zerafa battle.
UPDATE - Promoters of tonight's Battle of Bendigo boxing show have dropped 'ring girls' from tonight's event.
The move comes after community outrage at women being put up as 'trophies' and conversations with event sponsor City of Greater Bendigo.
City of Greater Bendigo councillors Yvonne Wrigglesworth and Jennifer Alden were critical of the between-rounds custom.
Wrigglesworth said women were being objectified in events like The Battle of Bendigo and Alden said stereotypes of this nature was not respectful of women.
City of Greater Bendigo Manager Tourism and Major Events Terry Karamaloudis said: "from the city's perspective, we understand and respect the promoter's decision to engage male ring managers at tonight's event."
Event co-promoter Dean Lonergan said he was disappointed with the criticism and had replaced the three women with males, who would be referred to as 'fight progress managers'.
He said the three women would still be paid and their replacements had been found by his co-promoter, Bendigo resident and Australian 1996 Olympic boxing representative Lynden Hosking.
"Ironically, four women will be fighting tonight and wearing less clothing than those women I have now had to replace with men in response to these protests," Lonergan said.
"As a result of their outcry and concern from sponsors about these uninformed media comments from an organisation that have never raised their concerns with me, shows their agenda is more about headlines than equal opportunity."
"They have denied three women the opportunity to do the job they applied for. They are intelligent women. Their freedom to work in an environment that they choose and enjoy doing has been completely undermined. These protests are an attack on them."
One of the replaced women, Kalista Thomas, objected to some of the criticism.
"To undermine my work as a ring card and call it sexualised I feel is absolutely discriminatory," Thomas said.
- with AAP
EARLIER - A BENDIGO councillor has raised concerns about the city being connected to a boxing event using 'ring girls' as "token trophy women".
Tonight's Battle of Bendigo has been criticised for its use of women as ornaments during the weigh in and matches.
Women's advocates said the use of women as accessories was out of step with modern attitudes and disrespectful of women.
City of Greater Bendigo councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth said she would have "discussions" with council staff about how women were portrayed at the event.
Cr Wrigglesworth described it as a "wrong look" to see ring girls parading in front of a City of Greater Bendigo banner.
She said she was an avid supporter of tourism in Bendigo, but the use of ring girls sent the wrong messages. Cr Wrigglesworth said boxing was not to her personal taste, but she understood it was a sport followed by people worldwide.
Cr Wrigglesworth said she was disappointed by council's association with the images of ring girls, which she described as "antiquated".
She said it was "an outdated and misogynistic concept" that females were the prize of men beating each other to semi-unconsciousness.
"Tourism can wait. The future of women and girls cannot," she said.
"I'd love to raise in my colleagues about how this is an okay thing ... it's not okay, that we have young females portrayed in this way.
"I guess what just tipped the balance for me yesterday was seeing the young females parades in front of the City of Greater Bendigo banner."
Cr Wrigglesworth said the use of ring girls sent the wrong message to girls who might be watching.
She said the evidence was clear that seeing women as possessions or prizes, or someone inferior to men, subconsciously or subliminally added to violence against women.
I guess what just tipped the balance for me yesterday was seeing the young females parades in front of the City of Greater Bendigo banner.Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth
Cr Wrigglesworth said the fact that women still had to raise issues like the use of ring girls in this day and age showed there was still a long way to go to reach equality.
"If the sport has merit on its own it can stand without these token trophy women and these accessories that are somehow being translated as part of the glamour," she said.
"If this is about true athleticism and skill they don't need people standing behind them in black cocktail dresses."
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