Bray native Katie Taylor, who was named Boxer of the Year by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association this past weekend, is speaking out about proposed new rulings by the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) that may require women to wear skirts when boxing.
The London Evening Standard reports that AIBA is looking to make rulings that women boxers should have to wear skirts while in the ring “in order to make them appear more ‘elegant’ and to help distinguish them from their male counterparts.”
The new ruling would have significance for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as this is the first year that boxing is being included as a sport, where as it was only used as a demonstration in years past.
Taylor (25), who is the favorite to bring home the gold for Ireland at the upcoming summer games, said in response to the proposed new rulings: “I don't even wear miniskirts on a night out, so I definitely won't be wearing miniskirts in the ring."
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A special Congress being held by AIBA today will consider the recommendations to have women boxers wear skirts and will decide whether or not it will be pushed through to official ruling, said The London Evening Standard.
A campaign to protest the proposed ruling is being organized through change.org and is supported by London-based boxers Elizabeth Plank and Marianne Marston. The petition, entitled "Play Fair, Don't Ask Female Boxers To Wear Skirts," has already attracted nearly 50,000 signatures since its conception late last year.
"It has become a bigger cause than I ever imagined. I don't think AIBA have a choice other than to take notice of us,” said Plank of the enormous support so far.
"That is my choice” said Marston. “It is not necessarily that women don't want to wear skirts, it is being told that we have to wear them which is just ridiculous. I feel there is no need to sexualize boxing. It should be just about the sport."
In response to the petition and protest about the proposed skirt ruling, a spokesman for AIBA said that the rule would not be compulsory, rather that it would become an option for women to wear the skirts while boxing.
However, Plank believes that that is not the point of their protest. “It is all very demeaning. Our petition is not about a piece of fabric, it's about athletes. It's about their credibility."