‘Paving the way for future women Members of Parliament in Samoa’ is the theme of a seminar currently being convened by the Women in Leadership Advocacy (WinLA) group.
The seminar commenced at the Samoa Tradition Resort.
WinLA is a network of women leaders advocating for women’s political and economic empowerment and is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
Its members include women Parliamentarians, women chief executive officers and Public Service Commissioners. The Australian Government through its Pacific Leadership Program supports the WinLA,
Participants at the two day seminar include women who contested the 2016 elections, National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) and Office of the Electoral Commissioner and WinLA members.
Panel discussions and presentations will provide participants with opportunities to discuss the lessons learnt by women in the 2016 elections and plan initiatives on working with partners to educate and prepare potential women candidates for the 2021 elections.
A highlight of the seminar is the presentation of recent findings from a research project - titled “Women and Political Participation: The 2016 Election in Samoa.”
The report authored by Ruta Fiti-Sinclair, Dr. Penelope Schoeffel and Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea is a result of interviews with 24 women who contested the elections in 12 electorates.
The research was to identify support for potential candidates beyond promoting women’s participation in parliamentary democracy.
It builds on prior work in 2013-15, which found that that women have very little voice in the governance of villages, which are the foundation stones of the national political system.
The research was funded by the Pacific Leadership Programme through the Samoa National Leadership Development Forum and was undertaken by the National University of Samoa’s Centre for Samoan Studies.