The three Pacific nations face huge battles on the rugby pitch this weekend to achieve some mighty upsets that would enable any of them to get to the quarterfinals – rather like the battles they face on the world stage. Size and isolation count against them.
In both rugby and social equality, France places above Tonga. The IRB rates them at 4th and 12th respectively, while on our rankings they come a bit closer at 6th and 9th. However, both those placings are a result of erratic and inconsistent play when you break it down. France is second among the rugby nations on gender equality, and – while we can’t compare Tonga on the same scale, it would place about one third of the way down all nations – as was indicated in an earlier blog. However, even Tonga’s performance on gender issues is mixed: women are pretty equal to men in education and health matters, but are discriminated against in terms of rights to land, and there are strong social norms against them working outside the home. They also earn a lot less than men when in paid employment.
France places in the top 5 for income equality and the happy planet index, but then drops into the lower half on military spending, the global peace index and transparency. They’re 10th on transparency, though Tonga performs far worse at 17 equal, only coming above Argentina and Russia.
Where Tonga does well (in our humble assessment) is its low military spending (we rate it 4th), and for the global peace index, we’ve given it an honorary ranking of 3rd among the 20 rugby nations. The country also has a strong focus on families and community – as is evident through Caritas’ programme to enhance incomes (for men, women and families) – through both traditional and innovative enterprise ventures.
I’m backing the underdogs in this match – for both the rugby and social equality. Raise the red flag for Tonga! (There are plenty of them round where I live.)
Martin de Jong is Communications & International Advocacy Coordinator for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.