Women in Tonga are involved in a wide variety of businesses, while also being highly regarded in traditional society; however, as the 'Tonga Gender and Investment Climate Reform Assessment' [PDF] report establishes, female professionals and entrepreneurs face several constraints that inhibit their full potential for economic growth.
Often, they are held back by traditional gender roles, cultural obligations that add familial responsibilities, limited access to land, and poor representation in government. Their interests are also inadequately protected by the country's legal framework, particularly in relation to property rights and employment.
The report provides suggestions, such as increasing the number of female mediators in the legal system, and introduces policy goals for government and partners, such as IFC and other development partners, to undertake in order to further embrace and encourage women's participation in the private sector in Tonga.
In the Pacific region, women's ability to access and control income, and exert decision making power is yet to be fully realized.
The Gender and Investment Climate Reform Assessments for Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu examines this issue by analyzing the constraints women in business face and provides recommendations for IFC to incorporate into its investment climate reform programs to reduce the gender specific obstacles.
For more information, view the Executive Summary.
To learn more about the women's individual stories of entrepreneurship, view Economic Opportunities for Women in the Pacific.