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Women’s organisations allow left-wing candidate’s casual sexism to slide?

A conservative politician has urged feminist organisations to take a stance after a mayor of Legionowo, near Warsaw, made sexist comments during his campaign for reelection.

The mayor, Roman Smogorzewski, was introducing his committee’s nominees for Legionowo city council when he turned to a female candidate, saying: “There’s a problem with you because you are a little too attractive”.

He later added: “Here we have probably the two most active, I would say, or eager, even,” using a Polish word which insinuated that the women were sexually aroused.

Video recordings from the event, which took place in September, went viral late last week.

Smogorzewski, who has since quit Poland’s major opposition Civic Platform party, has said that he did not intend to offend anyone and that he wanted to introduce his candidates in a “casual and funny” way.

Some members of the Civic Platform and its coalition partner, the Modern party, have criticised Smogorzewski, as have politicians from the right-wing Law and Justice party.

Piotr Guział, who is running for deputy mayor of Warsaw and hails from the conservative United Right party, has urged feminist organisations to “take a clear stance”, while Law and Justice party candidate for mayor of Warsaw Patryk Jaki said women’s rights groups were “ruthless” when reacting to conservative politicians, suggesting that Smogorzewski was given a free pass because he is associated with the political left.

He also slammed Civic Platform spokesman Jan Grabiec who congratulated Smogorzewski after the conference in which he made the sexist remarks.

Jaki took to social media to say: “Look how the mayor of Legionowo is offending women with his behaviour! Do you want such people to rule in cities? SHAME! Respect for women is the foundation of our culture”.

Smogorzewski has been mayor of Legionowo since 2002.

Poland is set to vote for their mayors and city councillors in elections on October 21.

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