Von Der Leyen Blames Gender Discrimination For Sofagate
The European Union’s first female chief executive vowed on Monday to fight for women’s rights after she was denied a chair during a meeting in Ankara with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan two weeks ago.
Speaking to the European Parliament, a visibly angry Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the April 6 episode – where she was relegated to an adjacent sofa while Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel sat in prepared chairs – showed disdain for female politicians.
“I cannot find any justification for how I was treated … so I have to conclude that it happened because I am a woman,” von der Leyen said, questioning whether the same would have happened had she been a man.
“Would this have happened if I had worn a suit and a tie?” she asked, also pointing out that she “did not see any shortage of chairs” in previous meetings of EU top leaders with Erdoğan.
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