16 Feb 2009

Tongan women lobby for 30% representation in Parliament

8:13 pm on 16 February 2009

Tongan women lobbying for a greater voice in Parliament want a quota of 30 percent political representation.

A group of more than 50 women has begun a concerted campaign to gather support for a quota under the new system of government being developed for 2010.

Only five women have entered the Tongan Parliament in the last thirty-five years.

Betty Blake of the Catholic Women's League says they feel strongly that mixed political decision-making would lead to a more prosperous economy.

"We feel that women have a place, they have a lot to say. They can contribute to the development of our country economically, socially and any other aspects of life."

Betty Blake says half of male MPs support the proposal. One objection was the possibility of all women MPs taking maternity leave at the same time.