Women boxers will have the option of wearing shorts or skirts when the sport debuts at the London Olympics this summer, the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) confirmed.
During a world conference on women and sports in Los Angeles Saturday, AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu said that female boxers would not be forced to wear skirts.
"Some women want to wear shorts and some want to wear skirts," Wu said. "So the decision we have made is that we shall make it optional because many boxers are undecided."
The executive committee would hold a vote "in the next few days" in an effort to address the controversial issue, according to Wu.
"We have never asked the women to wear skirts compulsorily," Wu told an audience of 300, drawing warm applause. Our Technical and Rules Commission have had several discussions. Some women want to wear shorts and some want to wear skirts.
"So the decision we have made is that we shall make it optional [what they wear] because many boxers are undecided."
The AIBA requested that female boxers wear skirts — on a trial basis — at the European Championships this past October, but only Poland and Romania complied.
This drew the ire of several female boxers, including Canada’s Elizabeth Plank. The Montreal amateur fighter balked at the proposal requiring female boxers to wear skirts.
"Forcing women to wear skirts, I think, it's sexism," she told Teddy Katz of CBC Radio Sports in January.
Plank received more than 52,000 signatures of support at Change.org, where she has created an online petition protesting the AIBA’s willingness to consider skirts in the ring.
"This ludicrous recommendation clearly has nothing to do with athletics and only serves to enforce gender stereotypes and the subjugation of women," she said on the petition.