18 Sep 2017

Women supported to campaign in Tonga

4:25 pm on 18 September 2017

The head of Tonga's Civil Society Forum says getting more women into parliament is everyone's responsibility and its time for more gender balance in Tongan politics.

Siale 'Ilolahia says the early election in November is an opportunity for Tongan women to come forward.

There is just one woman MP in the current parliament - and only five have been elected since 1951.

'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia

Executive Director of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, 'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia. Photo: RNZ/Koro Vaka'uta

She said a recent call for more women to become politically active resulted in 40 attending a meeting and eight women signalled their intentions to stand in November.

Ms 'Ilolahia said the challenge now was to support the women, and hopefully others, to sign up as candidates.

"It's no longer about the status quo of doing things the same, the same thing every time," she said.

"If we are serious about our democracy, serious about getting our society moved forward, we need to engage more of the women so that we have a more balanced decision making system."

She said there would be another meeting at the end of the week to support more women who were interested in running for parliament.

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