13 Dec 2012

Australia's Marles pushes gender equality message in Tonga

1:37 pm on 13 December 2012

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs, Richard Marles, has been in Tonga, speaking about Canberra's plan to try and cut gender inequality in the Pacific.

During this year's Pacific Islands Forum summit in the Cook Islands, Australia unveiled plans for a 330 million US dollar initiative to help women in the Pacific.

Radio Tonga reports Mr Marles as saying the ten-year plan will focus on three areas.

He says this includes promoting women's participation in government and public life and economic empowerment of women.

There will be practical measures for safety, such as accommodation at market places to allow women to stay overnight.

And he says the third area is the campaign to stop violence against women.