15 Sep 2005

Commonwealth says Tonga needs to act to improve the lot of women

7:40 am on 15 September 2005

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has called on the Tongan government to ratify an agreement aimed at addressing gender inequality.

This week Tonga hosted its first ever CPA workshop on gender inequality.

Programme director, Niall Johnson says he was happy with the turnout of at the two-day workshop and felt the Tongan parliament had been very responsive to what had been shared.

However Mr Johnson says Tonga still has to improve on the level of equality between genders.

"The essential step that we think needs to be taken in Tonga is for Tonga to ratify CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, so there's considerable work to be done in that regard but I think that the Members of Parliament who spoke in the workshop were very open to moving this agenda forward."

Tonga currently has only one woman MP, Lepolo Taunisila.