18 Nov 2016

Tonga MP pushing for more women in politics

4:12 pm on 18 November 2016

A Tongan MP says the mindset that women do not belong in parliament needs to be changed.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

The level of women's representation in parliament in the Pacific is among the lowest in the world with women comprising less than 16 percent of all parliamentarians in the region.

The sole woman MP in Tonga's Parliament 'Akosita Lavulavu is one of 40 Pacific delegates in New Zealand this week for the Pacific Parliamentary Forum.

She explained that while people in Tonga often believed women belonged in the kitchen, one of the biggest barriers was getting women to support each other.

"We need to educate and support our women to support other women into political roles and leadership roles and I think that's something that I'm working on and it is very important," she said.

'Akosita Lavulavu said it was important women were represented in Parliament and she was working on a private bill to reserve two seats for women.

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