Brisbane, August 19 : A comment of the Mayor of an Australian town on how lovelorn female "ugly ducklings" could help redress a gender imbalance has sparked a protest march.
Mayor John Molony sparked controversy by suggesting that "beauty-disadvantaged women... (should) proceed to Mount Isa (town)", where women are outnumbered five-to-one.
"We want an apology. We are offended and we want to settle the score," brisbanetimes.com.au quoted local woman Rikki Loccisano, a 22-year-old administration officer, as saying.
She has revealed that the town's single women are planning to hit back with a protest rally on the lawns of the Civic Centre.
She said that emails and text messages had been circulating around the town since 9am, urging women to "stand up and be heard".
"It paints the women here as second rate and suggests that the men will settle for anything. He has put everyone down," she said.
"We're going to get together to put forward our opinion," she added.
Molony's fellow council members and the local Chamber of Commerce said that they had been swamped with phone calls from both women and men complaining about the Mayor's remarks.
"We have received calls from past Mt Isa residents, who are currently living overseas and read about the mayor's comments online...they're shocked and outraged. There are much more serious regional and economic issues plaguing our town than what we all look like," Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O'Callaghan said.
About 100 women are expected to participate in the protest to confront Molony this evening with banners and placards.
"We're in discussions now about what we're going to do exactly," Loccisano said.
Molony was unavailable for comment.