Tongan women encouraged to enter politics

A New Zealand MP who has been in Tonga encouraging women to participate in politics says women there need to change their mindsets.

Jenny Salesa, who is also Tongan, held a meeting in Nuku'alofa last week inviting women who were interested in standing in local government or parliamentary elections.

RNZI reports town and district elections are scheduled to take place in June.

Mrs Salesa said more than 50 women attended the meeting.

She said there had never been any female representation at local government level and only three had been MPs.

Mrs Salesa said one of the biggest obstacles for Tongan women was themselves.

She said she noticed this after the 2014 national elections when listening to Tongan radio.

"I'd say about 90 percent of the callers that were calling in to the radio station said along these lines; women's place is in the home, women shouldn't be heads of department, women shouldn't be in parliament, women shouldn't make decisions including in business or in parliament.”

“But these 90 percent were phone calls from women," Mrs Salesa said.