Though it’s painful for him to admit it, Bolivian President Evo Morales says women are smarter than men.
In comments on Monday in the city of El Alto to mark the beginning of the school year, Morales said that when he was a union organizer in the province of Chapare he noticed that those who won certifications as the highest-achieving students were disproportionately female.
“I don’t want the guys to get upset, but I’m seeing that women are more intelligent,” Morales said, according to a report from Spanish newswire EFE. “It hurts me as a man, but it’s true.”
The remarks contrasted with comments Morales has made in the past that some critics viewed as sexist.
Last month, Morales said that if women weren’t such “capricious little things,” they would run Bolivia because they are more honest and hardworking than men. He urged female legislators not to fight among themselves.
In a 2013 interview with Bolivian magazine Oxígeno, Morales, who is unmarried, said “the woman for a man is the substitute for his mother” because women are “affectionate and look after the food.”
The president’s views aside, Bolivia is known for having a high level of participation of women in politics.
With women accounting for 53.1 percent of the lower house of Bolivia’s 130-member national legislature and 47.2 percent of the national Senate, Bolivia had the second-highest percent of women in congress of any country in the world as of 2014, according to data compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.