17 Feb 2014

Tonga speaker deplores lack of women in parliament

4:40 pm on 17 February 2014

Tonga's speaker of parliament says while it is shocking that women are so underrepresented in parliament, the government is working to remedy that imbalance.

Tonga currently only has one woman in parliament, Dr 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki, who was appointed by the prime minister rather than elected.

But Tonga is soon to launch a women's so-called practice parliament, which will run for two days in April.

The speaker, Lord Fakafanua, says the mock parliament is designed to encourage and empower women to enter politics.

"The idea came from women being underrepresented in our parliament. In the past 100 years of the history of parliament in Tonga there have only been seven women and we figure that since women represent 50 percent of the population that there is an injustice there."

Lord Fakafanua says he does not believe in a quota system.