Need for action
Bendigo has a problem with women's voice.
I work with 10 local governments from Swan Hill to Macedon Ranges as executive officer of LEAD Loddon Murray. We help prepare people to serve on council. Cr Wrigglesworth is a highly regarded graduate of our leadership program. I find the treatment of female leaders who speak up on issues of gender inequality is uniquely vicious in Bendigo.
Council's most important function is to spend our rates in line with the vision and strategy endorsed by the community and adopted by council. Councillors Wrigglesworth and Alden weren't just acting on their personal values in calling out the city's departure from its own gender equality strategy - they were doing their jobs.
The vitriol Cr Wrigglesworth was subjected to is unacceptable. That sustained, targeted, hateful, threatening personal attacks on Cr Wrigglesworth led her to resign should trouble us all. I'm worried by the pattern of trolling female leaders who speak up about gender inequality. Nothing lights torches or brings out pitch forks faster in Bendigo than acknowledging our cultural problem with women's voice. We just allowed trolls to silence one of our most capable, trustworthy and courageous leaders.
We need to take action to protect and support leaders to do their jobs without fear. We need to show our young people and emerging leaders that we're making change post Yvonne's resignation or suffer the consequence of discouraging skilled, capable candidates from standing for council in the future.
Leah Sertori, Bendigo
I read this morning with deep disappointment the resignation of councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth who represented my electorate in Bendigo. Cr Wrigglesworth was always contactable, always willing to work for her constituents and I am appalled that the behaviour of some Bendigo residents has forced this strong competent woman to resign from her position on council.
Yvonne has named 'members of the community, elements of the media and even some of her colleagues on council' as responsible for her resignation. What were they thinking? Yvonne was defending a basic tenet, that of respect for women, and 'ring girls' really don't receive that.
Even the Grand Prix in Melbourne no longer supports the use of 'ring girls'.
As a community we also need to consider why young women agree to accept these 'ring girl' positions. One of these young women offered the answer that it was good money, which would help her through her years of study. If that is the case perhaps the community needs to seriously look at the living costs of students and see if they can't receive more assistance during those costly years. Surely we can do better than see them used as 'ring girls'.
I like to believe there would be at least some men at the boxing ring that night who were equally appalled and offended at the sight of young women being used as 'ring girls'... men with wives and daughters at home whom they respected and loved.
I wish Yvonne could have stayed on as our councillor, but I absolutely respect her right to make the decision she did. I am sure she had very good reasons for doing so. I wish her well in the future.
Annie Young, Junortoun
- City flags more detailed event discussion following 'ring girls' controversy
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- Bendigo councillor speaks out on 'ring girls' at Horn v Zerafa match
- Boxing 'ring girls' disrespectful to women, advocates say
- Council plan to improve gender equity on the cards
- OUR SAY: Bendigo ring girls debate needs to happen, because there's a bigger issue
Welcome to Bendigo. Where the media and the mob hound good people out of office.
Congrats. You will now be represented by people everyone will complain about.
Anthony Radford, Bendigo
As a councillor she uses Facebook to spruik her agenda and obvious dislike to everything that males might consider some sort of innocent fun.
What a disappointment that the boxing event was overshadowed by comments she obviously made to attract as much media attention to herself.
And the Advertiser backs her up, no wonder your sales have plummeted.
Andrew Cooper, Kangaroo Flat
Thanks for coverage
Thanks to the Advertiser for raising this issue. How old-fashioned this use of young women is and how unnecessary to the event.
It puts Bendigo in a good light to be questioning the values behind this parading of girls. Well done to the women on council who challenged it.
Rosemary Sorensen, Bendigo
I congratulate the Bendigo Addy for reporting on the misgivings of two City of Greater Bendigo councillors about sponsoring a boxing event they fear objectifies women.
There are serious questions here about how the council works - questions the council doesn't want to answer.
I want to make it clear I understand the war here is ultimately about societal inequality - particularly in the home where we need to tackle the misogyny that's behind much of the violence against women.
This is where the issue gets muddied - does boxing reflect women's subservience in real life? Yes, you argue - ring girls carry out - and wholly accept - a role that is mere decoration to the main event.
But the boxing ring is not the battlefield for feminists - and women who work in the sport; young women who relate to feeling empowered by the way they look; women who genuinely love the sport now are angry or ashamed.
While Nicole Ferrie admirably continues to fight on behalf of those who suffer violence behind closed doors - in her editorial (Bendigo Advertiser, September 7) she's talking about a whole other battleground where the aggressors also strike anonymously - social media.
Let's find a way to name those men who are making women scared to speak up - I will stand with you to condemn them.
Sharon Kemp, Junortoun
Ban duck shooting
Premier Andrews, please save Victoria's freckled and blue-billed ducks by banning recreational duck shooting now. Bring Victoria along with other states banning this cruel event and align legislation to demonstrate your government's Animal Welfare Action Plan 2017 that promotes 'evidence-based animal welfare practices and reflects community expectations... we all need to protect the welfare of all animals'.