Every family is provided by law with sufficient land to support itself. There is no social welfare department; the medical and education departments and the missions provide what welfare services are available. The only pension scheme is one for civil servants.
Polynesian cultural traditions have kept most women in subservient roles, and few have risen to positions of leadership. Inheritance laws discriminate against women, and women may not own land. Domestic violence is prevalent and dealt with according to tribal law and custom. The government created a National Council of Women despite opposition from women's nongovernmental organizations who feared that its independence would be limited.
Human rights are generally well respected in Tonga. However, political dissent is suppressed.