9 Feb 2005

Tongan woman candidate says women's rights ignored for too long

4:48 pm on 9 February 2005

A Tongan election candidate says she hopes female candidates vying to get into the House at next month's national election will be strong advocates for women's' rights if they get in.

Alisi Pone Fotu, who's involved in many community and women's' groups in Tonga, says so many issues affecting women and families have been ignored in the current all male parliament.

She says many women are very successful leaders in all sectors of society, and if given the opportunity, could do the same in politics.

Ms Fotu says women should not be discriminated against, like for instance, in getting a government scholarship.

"They were thinking of not giving a woman the right to have scholarships, because of some simple reason, and I would say - the thing that a woman will be pregnant, and not only that but she's going to be married and lost from the government."

Alisi Pone Fotu is one of six female candidates running for the national election on March the 17th, against 58 male candidates.