Slovakia’s parliament is debating whether to ask the European Commission to fire its Head of Representation in Slovakia, Vladimír Sucha, over comments about Slovakia’s DNA having broken chromosomes when it comes to gender equality.
Sucha spoke at a conference promoting women’s role in science and said that when it comes to gender equality, Slovakia’s DNA has “broken chromosomes”.
“I am sincerely sorry for this situation. I apologise if my use of exaggeration offended anyone,” Sucha said in an official statement to the Parliament’s EU committee.
Following the incident, MPs filed a resolution criticising the official’s “derogatory” language and asking for his removal. While it was greenlighted by the parliament’s EU Committee, the call for him to be fired was removed.
Sucha explained that the point of his speech was to encourage more action when it comes to promoting the role of women in science and leadership, claiming institutional action does not come naturally in Slovakia.
The calls for his removal are led by Slovakia’s ultraconservative politicians, including unattached far-right MEP Milan Uhrík, who sent his own letter to the Commission.
Liberal MP Anna Zemanová backed Sucha in the plenary, saying his comments were misinterpreted and his apology should suffice.
Slovakia consistently scores below the EU average on gender equality, including the EU’s gender equality index, where it ranks 24th, beating only Hungary, Romania and Greece. The share of women in Slovakia’s board members of research funding organisations is only 15.4%, while the EU average is 40.3%.
“Our Head of Representation in Slovakia Vladimir Sucha tried to make a point on gender balance, using a metaphor, during a conference on this subject last week. He later apologised for the use of that particular metaphor, which was misinterpreted,” said a Commission spokesperson.
(Barbara Zmušková | EURACTIV.sk)
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