7 Jul 2016

Tongan woman district officer sees change in politics

4:28 pm on 7 July 2016

The first woman to be elected as a district officer on the Tongan island of 'Eua says people are starting to realise that development cannot advance without the input of women.

'Eua National Park, TONGA

'Eua National Park Photo: Duncan Wright via wikicommons

In the recent local body elections, Sisifa Fili was voted in as 'Eua Motu'a District Officer, covering six villages.

There were no current women MPs and there had only ever been five. This has prompted a major push this year by government to promote the participation of women in politics.

Ms Fili said her campaign was initially a struggle, particularly when speaking to older people.

"They don't accept for a woman to come and speak in front and then tell them what to do but I know very well I will succeed because most of the women, they vote for me because they start to see what is happening. The wheel of development. If there is no women in the village, development will not go through," Sisifa Fili said.

Eighteen women stood for the local elections but Mrs Fili was the only successful District Officer.

Vika Kaufusi was elected Town Officer for Haveluloto.

The next parliamentary elections are to take place in 2018.

  • Tonga to explore parliamentary quotas for women
  • Tongan women encouraged to enter politics
  • Call for more Pacific women decision makers
  • UN Women launch radio drama to boost women in office