Polish lawmaker Janusz Korwin-Mikke (C) has taken enormous criticism this week for telling the European Parliament that women should earn less pay than men because they are "smaller," "weaker" and "less intelligent." File Photo by Pawel Supernak/European Pressphoto Agency
March 3 (UPI) -- A Polish politician is facing substantial backlash for comments he made in the European Parliament this week -- unequivocal remarks that said women are inferior to men.
While speaking in the European Union's lawmaking body Wednesday, MP Janusz Ryszard Korwin-Mikke defended the pay gap between working women and men.
"Do you know how many women are in the first hundred [class] of chess players? I tell you -- no one," he 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," he continued before sitting down, smiling.
Korwin-Mikke's remarks were met with audible gasps and looks of disgust in the Brussels, Belgium, chamber.
"Well, according to what you're saying, and according to your theory, I wouldn't have the right to be here as a member of parliament," MP Iratxe Garcia-Perez, of Spain, said. "I know that you are very upset, and very concerned about the fact that we women can represent citizens on an equal footing with you."
Garcia-Perez, clearly irked, stood up and pointed her finger directly in Korwin-Mikke's direction during her reply.
"I am here to defend all European women from men like you," she shot back.
Greater attention was paid to the lawmaker's remarks on Thursday after footage of the comments was released. That afternoon, the embattled lawmaker made light of the controversy on his Facebook page.
"Women are smarter than the average men. How do we know? Because I haven't seen a woman throw herself at a man because he has nice legs," he wrote, adding that women seem to "have a complex."
An investigation has been opened to determine whether Korwin-Mikke violated parliamentary rules that require members to show mutual respect and refrain from "defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior."
If the parliament concludes that rules were violated, Korwin-Mikke could be fined, suspended or disciplined, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Wednesday wasn't the first time Korwin-Mikke has stirred controversy. His colorful political career includes a protest of high taxes in Poland, in which he ate his tax return in front of a government revenue office, and his giving a Nazi salute while shouting fascist rhetoric in the EU chamber in 2015.