A Polish member of the European Parliament Janusz Korwin-Mikke faced outrage on Friday after he said women should earn less as they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent”.
The 74-year-old MEP who leads a marginal rightwing party, during a debate on the pay gap between men and women said, “Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less, that’s all.”
To support his argument he explained there were no women among the world’s top 100 world chess players.
The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group urged the Parliament President Antonio Tajani to sanction Korwin-Mikke for his comments. He opened an investigation into the “shameful” comments.
Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, from the Modern party, accused him of insulting women. She said, “There are more women than men in Poland, we’re better educated, and I will not let you offend Polish women, European women and women all over the world. It’s a disgrace.”
But the misogynist didn’t take the criticism heartily and he again did an annoying comment against women. “Instead of talking, you deliver slogans. It’s time to end it. This is a twentieth-century stereotype that women have the same intellectual potential as men.”
He continued, “It’s a stereotype that must be destroyed because it is not true. Tell me about one invention a woman came up with? One?”
An enraged journalist told, “What about Marie Curie-Sklodowska?”
But Korwin-Mikke claimed that was Perrie Curie. “Let me tell you about three inventions discovered by men you didn’t know about; the mop, invented by a man – black by the way. Tampax was also invented by men and feminism was also made up by a man.”
Ms. Scheuring-Wielgus did counter attack on his comment. She said now it is 2017 and the misogynist wouldn’t be there if it was not for women.
EU Commissioner Vera Jourova at the end of the debate slammed him by saying it “demonstrated the lack of respect shown to women”. She commented, “We heard here several men. The one who offended all of us reminded me of my discussion which I had last year in New York with one African minister who had very similar opinions.”
She added, “And I realised how happy I am that I live in Europe which, although we have all the problems, is a good address for women because the vast majority of us agree that there must be full respect for women and no reason for keeping the pay gap.”
This is not the first time he made some insensible comments. In 2015, he raised his arm in a Nazi salute to make a political point in the Parliament. At the time, the EU’s elected legislative arm forcing the centrist government in Warsaw to apologise and express shame for his behaviour.
The Polish heads a small party which won under 5% vote in Poland’s last parliamentary election in 2015.