For perhaps the millionth time in history, a politician was pulled up for making sexist remarks against women in public platforms. But for a change, it wasn’t someone from our country.
The European Parliament was witness to some highly derogatory remarks by Janusz Korwin-Mikke a few days ago, when during a debate on gender pay gap he said “women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent“.
In response to his comments, another parliamentary member, Iratxe Garcia Perez of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, had this to say. “I know it hurts and worries you that today women can sit in this house and represent European citizens with the same rights as you,” she said. “I am here to defend all European women from men like you.”
This is not the first time that Mikke has been under fire. He has previously said that women should not be allowed to vote and was investigated for incitement to rape in 2014 over remarks he made to the European Parliament.
Making outrageous statements in public platforms is almost second nature to politicians. Here are a few examples from our own country.
“If anyone from opposition or their wives and sisters are here, then listen up, if any one of your people touch anyone from TMC I will destroy you, I will not spare them. I will send my boys and they will rape people.”- Tapas Pal TMC (July 2014)
“First girls develop friendship with boys. Then when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape?” – Mulayam Singh Yadav (April 2014)
“In these modern times, the more skin women show, the more they are considered fashionable. If my sister or daughter stays out beyond sunset celebrating December 31 with a man who isn’t their husband or brother, that’s not right. If there’s gasoline, there will be fire. If there’s spilt sugar, ants will gravitate towards it for sure.” Abu Azmi, in response to Bengaluru Molestation case, December 31st 2016.
“The concept of four wives and forty children just won’t work in India but it is high time that every Hindu woman must produce at least four children to protect the Hindu religion” Sakshi Maharaj
“Rapes happen because men and women interact freely.” Mamata Banerjee
While India has been grappling with issues of patriarchy and misogyny for centuries now, it is a bitter revelation that a developed society like Europe is also battling these very issues. Perhaps this is a sign that people from across the world must come together, and stand firm and tall for gender equality. This also brings to light the need for more women to be in Parliament, to fight these statements and these actions. Our fight for passage of Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha, has been going on for many years, and instances like these add further impetus to our movement!