March 20, 2018

Tonga Government sees rugby and boxing as not for girls

A women's rights advocate in Tonga is outraged at a letter from the country's Ministry of Education banning school girls from taking part in rugby and boxing.

The letter addressed to a local high school, said that female students should not take part in the sports because they took away from young women's dignity and cultural traditions.

'Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki said the ministry was using culture as an excuse and she could not understand the stance.

She said Tongan female athletes had been inspirational in recent times, including New Zealand's Teuila Fotu-Moala.

“Teuila, who got the female player of the tournament for the women's rugby league world cup, that story hit Tonga last year and made a lot of people proud. To see these women excelling in sport, I mean, you look at Valerie Adams. This letter from the Ministry of Education has taken us a hundred years backwards, said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.