Parliamentary ethics committee reprimands ruling party leader
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Law and Justice (PiS), Poland’s governing party, has been reprimanded by the parliamentary ethics committee for critical comments he made about women who "hit the bottle."
In November, the PiS president, who is also a former prime minister, said during a meeting with residents of the north-eastern town of Ełk, that women who drink excessively would make poor mothers.
At one point he told locals that, "if they hit the bottle up to the age of 25 - I'm joking a bit - but it's not a good prognosis in these matters."
He went on to say a man had to drink heavily for 20 years in order to become an alcoholic but for a woman it only took two.
Kaczyński added that his party would undertake measures to increase the birth rate because if young women continued to drink at the current rate "there will be no children."
Ethics Committee Chair Monika Falej of the opposition Left party said Kaczyński had endangered the good name of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, with his statements.
The motion to censure Kaczyński was brought by Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, also of the Left.
Falej said of the comments: "A person who always talks about law and justice offends women, mocks people sick with alcoholism." She went on to say that by failing to appear before the committee or offer a clarification, Kaczyński had "belittled this body of the Sejm."
"This is just what Jarosław Kaczyński's relationship really is with Polish men and women, with observing the law in Poland," she said.
Referring later to the comments he made in Ełk, Kaczyński said he hadn't intended to offend anybody but just to speak the truth about a harmful phenomenon, namely that, "the organisms of men and women react differently to alcohol, men are more resistant."
He added that he was "100 percent in favour of equality between men and women in all areas of life, but that does not mean that women should pretend to be men and men pretend to be women."