More awareness needed on Government committment to Gender Equality

08/03/2010 16:36

The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) today announced the results of a short 5-day scoping survey among 700 people living in Tongatapu at an International Womens Day event held in conjunction with the Tonga Cancer Society.


Coordinator of the WCCC, ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki told a group of more than 50 women that the reason for conducting the 5 day survey was because of this year’s international women’s day theme: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All.


“We wanted to find out what people think - does Tonga have equal rights and opportunities, and how are we progressing in terms of our political commitment to equality” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.


The survey was to find out how much people knew about current Government commitments towards women’s rights and gender equality and organisations whose work is to promote women’s rights and gender equality in Tonga. Results reveal the number of people who felt that they had a basic knowledge of policies that Tonga has committed to, or has had political debate over committing to.


“The most obvious finding in this simple survey was that people are not really aware of what our government has already committed to achieve gender equality. How are we, as citizens, supposed to keep the government accountable, if we don’t even know what they are accountable to?” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.


The results of the survey are below.


The survey was simple and brief, but was a lead indicator for further research that will be conducted by the WCCC. The centre is aiming to develop a network of women and men who will lobby to help achieve achieving women’s human rights and gender equality in Tonga.


 “The survey also had no cost and seeing as we are a newly established NGO with extremely limited funds we had to come up with an activity that the staff could volunteer in carrying out and with little cost,” said Senior Counselor, Susana ‘Uhatafe.


The 2 hour interactive session also included a presentation by Dr. Sunia Foliaki on Women’s Cancer types in Tonga with a special focus on Cervical and Breast Cancer which sparked a lot of interest from the audience.


“Improving health services for women is a perfect example of why Tonga is committed on a political level to gender equality. It’s up to us as citizens to point to these commitments, and ask why we don’t know more about issues that affect our everyday life, like  Breast and Cervical cancer” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.