HONGKONG'S only female village head has pledged to fight outdated traditions that discriminate against women and will campaign for their right to have a say in rural life. Mrs Wong Tang Lai-kwan, 77, is leader of the three-family Shui Tin village in Yuen Long and is the only female among the New Territory's 690 village chiefs. She does not regard herself as a feminist, but believes men and women have equal responsibility in working for a better community. ''We have moved into a new era and women are no longer thought to be men's inferiors. It is natural that we should have an equal status and be treated equally,'' she said. ''I believe women should have more representatives on local rural committees or even the Heung Yee Kuk. I often meet female officials when I attend government meetings. They are competent. I believe village women can do a good job if they have the opportunities.'' Shui Tin village, opposite Long Ping Estate, has just 14 residents, but they decide the term of office of the village chief. Mrs Wong was first elected in 1982. She was re-elected in 1985 and 1990. She will probably stand for office again next year. ''I was not aiming to make great reforms when I accepted the nomination for the village leadership. I just thought I was able to manage the village affairs.'' Mrs Wong was a nurse at Tung Wah Eastern Hospital for 30 years and regarded as the best-educated of the elders of the village. ''Most elderly women here are not educated. And I sometimes help them, say, apply for public assistance or go to the bank. ''Several weeks ago, an elderly villager was robbed of $10,000 and she did not even know that she should have put the money in a bank and report the robbery to the police until I told her. ''Our tradition has forced many women to be in a sad plight. It is very sad that such tradition does still exist in some villages in today's Hongkong where everybody is talking about freedom and democracy. ''It is a time for us to change it.''