Developing the woman behind fair and equal economic opportunity in Tonga

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 10:47
  • Australia Awards
  • Tonga
  • All Countries

Mele Fakatouato Mangisi’s considerable skills in developing financial inclusion are being bolstered by the Australia Awards Women’s Leadership Initiative.

A keen interest in community engagement, in particular empowering those disempowered by circumstances they cannot directly influence, has been a driving force for Mele Mangisi. A highlight of this work was in her role as General Counsel to the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, where she was involved in promoting and developing financial inclusion in the country, through the drafting of bills aimed at giving marginalised groups access to finance.

Now in Canberra, Mele is studying a Masters in Public Policy at the Australian National University as an Australia Awards scholar. She is adding to her expertise through the Women’s Leadership Initiative, paired with the impressive Carol Schwartz—experienced member of corporate and not-for-profit boards and founding chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute—as her mentor. The two are mulling over how to improve access to finance for women and other marginalised groups in Tonga, as well as promoting transparency in Tonga’s regulatory and public institutions.

Of her Women’s Leadership Initiative experience so far, Mele says: ‘The opportunity to network with many brilliant and impressive women allows for me to share different views, interests and insights on contemporary issues.’

Asked to reflect on herself through a variety of leadership building activities, she has learnt ‘how resilient I can be and perhaps being a Tongan woman, a female lawyer, a Pacific Islander and a single mother has contributed to that.’

We look forward to seeing how Mele takes these professional and personal insights into her working life on her return to Tonga.

For more detail on the Women’s Leadership Initiative, visit the website.