Tonga looking at parliamentary quotas for women

The Tongan government is exploring ways it can increase the number of women participating in politics. At the moment there are no female MPs and there have only been a handful of women in both local body and national politics.



In the lead-up to June's town and district officer elections, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has been holding workshops to encourage women to participate.

The Ministry's Chief Executive Mary Bing-Fonua said the government was looking at various options and examples across the region.

"We will definitely look at how Samoa uses temporary special measures and quotas and other examples as well. We are hoping that at the local elections, thereafter we would be able to look into who could help us, and give us options to be considered."

New Zealand Labour MP Jenny Salesa, who held a meeting in Nuku'alofa in mid-April inviting women interested in politics, said over 50 women attended.

Salesa says she hopes that women will get involved as she knows of only three women who’ve been elected as members of parliament in Tonga in the past.