Breaking down gender barriers

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The training was centred at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Hall, Luatuanuu and attended by more than 100 women.

The training was centred at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Hall, Luatuanuu and attended by more than 100 women. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

PR - The nofotane women from Lauli’i, Leusoali’i, Luatuanu’u, Solosolo and Eva have joined the Samoa Victim Support Group and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality efforts, to address women’s economic disadvantage through their economic empowerment.  

The training was centred at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Hall, Luatuanuu and attended by more than 100 women.

On this 22nd session of livelihood trainings of the Nofotane Project, there was a noted gradual change in community attitudes and behavior towards the economic empowerment of nofotane women.  

This was evidence by the support from village and church leaders who attended the training sessions just to offer support towards the women.  For the husbands, they happily tended to the reversed roles of taking care of the children, attended to their food and things at home while the women attended the training.

This is the kind of support from both women and men, necessary to break down stereotypes and gender roles responsiblilities in the home, employment and community.  

While handicraft, elei printing and commercial cooking were the most popular skills selected by the nofotane to be trained on, the highlight of the 22nd session was the youth groups, who were more interested in flower arrangements.

This was because the trainer is a member of the SVSG (Junior) volunteer and a transgender, who represented this third gender well, in the economic empowerment of women. And SVSG encourages the involvement of the community to address gender equality without discrimination as we were blessed to have Daisy Toloa, our floral arrangement expert, being part of the training team

It was during the demonstration of the self-esteem module, the SHINE program emphasizing value, purpose and worth that provided a fitting ending to the livelihood session at Luatuanuu.  The women were encouraged, as the program appealed to their self-esteem, necessary for them to rise up as valuable women that they are in our families and communities.  As empowered women, positive changes are in store for these women, their families and communities.

“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa.  The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality,”  Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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