Getting serious about women in politics

15/07/2010 17:01

WCCC attended a workshop last week held by the Tonga National Womens Congress to strategise how more women can be elected in the upcoming federal elections, scheduled for November 25.

Nine female candidates are expected to stand for the upcoming elections, and all of them are passionate about having females representation in this historic election for the Kingdom.

Women have had the right to stand as candidates in Tonga since 1951. However the first female Member of Parliament was not elected until 1971, and since then only 4 MPs and two Cabinet Ministers have been female. Currently there is one female Cabinet Minister.

 The workshop guest speaker, Ms. Naziah Ali, a communication specialist from UNIFEM, pointed out the Pacific trend of underrepresentation of females in parliament. “The Pacific is one of the most under represented regions in the world. Women make up 50% of the population – but as a region they only make up 1% of parliament” said Ali.

TNWC wants to see the election of as many female candidates as possible to advance the cause of women’s human rights, and to provide a female perspective in the key decision making process for Tonga. Parties in attendance at the workshop included representatives from the media, Ma'a Fafine mo e Famili (MFF), Tonga National Centre for Women and Children, the Catholic Women’s League and the WCCC. The opening address was provided by Mrs. Tuna Fielakepa, with all parties spurred on by her inspiring words to design a plan for promoting women in parliament over the next crucial few months before the election.

Registration to vote is still open to those who are interested. For details contact the Prime Ministers Office at 24 644