Last Friday, a member of the European Parliament representing Poland, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, declared that women should earn less than men as they are ‘smaller, weaker and less intelligent’.
This statement was seemingly an attempt to justify the gender-pay gap, which is still around 15% in EU countries according to the World Economic Forum and unlikely to be resolved before 2069 according to Deloitte.
The video of his comments went viral on the internet. It also shows Iraxte Garcia-Perez, from the Spanish Socialist Party, criticising his statement and declaring her job as protecting ‘European women from men like you’.
Korwin-Mikke will most certainly face punishment for his comments. He is now being investigated by the president of the parliament to determine whether he broke the chamber’s rules with his remarks. Rule 11 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure states that the conduct of MEPs shall be ‘characterised by mutual respect’ and that they ‘shall not resort to defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behaviour in parliamentary debates’.
It is not the first time this MEP has been censured by the parliament. In October 2015, Korwin-Mikke was suspended for five days for making a Nazi salute in the chamber the preceding July. He made the gesture as he spoke against the influx of migrants into the EU, describing migrants as ‘excrement’.
Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno also gave the salute while wearing a Hitler moustache. Both were suspended and fined £2,200, yet were still allowed to vote in parliamentary proceedings. The European Parliament also denies Korwin Mikke was involved in such an incident.
For some, it is outrageous to think that such comments are made and supported by the representatives of European countries, who are supposed to fight for gender equality. The only question remains what type of sanction will be applied to the Mr. Korwin-Mikke, as the world hopes that this time a more severe punishment will be chosen. Indeed, a fine of £2,200 is nothing but negligible for a representative of the European Union, only representing ten days of wage.
Unfortunately, this represents one more step towards the challenges of gender equality, which for some are still worsening.