4 Sep 2017

Worry women's candidates handicapped by early Tonga vote

3:11 pm on 4 September 2017

The Civil Society Forum of Tonga believes that the early elections resulting from last month's royal dissolution of parliament, could affect the number of women running as candidates.

'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia

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

The Forum's Executive Director, 'Emeline 'Ilolahia, has been part of a group encouraging women to stand in both local and national elections and has lobbied for greater representation in parliament.

However Ms 'Ilolahia said because elections have to be held by November instead of next year, as originally planned, their scheduled work towards encouraging and educating had not been done yet.

She said it normally took time to get women involved.

"Culturally, what we have been used to is just automatically, when you talk about a leadership position, in your head you are already still thinking of a man figure. So when you have a very limited scope of time to really help women to come up, just having the confidence to stand, is going to be really hard in such a short time."

'Emeline 'Ilolahia said women's advocates were meeting this week to map out a plan for the campaign.

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