A new leadership project set to build on advances in gender equality was officially launched at Taumeasina on Wednesday.
The Women in Leadership in Samoa (W.I.L.S.) project is a joint initiative between UN Women and U.N.D.P., in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Government of Australia together with the support from local partner organisations.
The project seeks to improve gender equality and women’s leadership in Samoa.
W.I.L.S. represents the second phase of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS) Project, which was in place from 2014 to 2016.
Building on the lessons learnt from the I.P.P.W.S. Project, W.I.L.S. aims to strengthen opportunities for more inclusive and effective participation of women in all forms of leadership and share knowledge of Samoa’s experience in promoting women’s political participation.
The W.I.L.S. project will partner closely with the Government of Samoa to support culturally sensitive implementation that includes women at all levels, from community based organizations to high level female representation in public and private sectors.
The Government of Samoa welcomes this joint initiative as it is aligned to the National Policy for Gender Equality 2016 – 2020 being implemented by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.
This policy speaks to enhancing institutional mechanisms to bring about gender equality, improved health services, access to education, economic development, climate change responses and good governance.
W.I.L.S. aims to address challenges such as limited pathways into political leadership; perceptions about women’s roles; financial constraints; gaps in civic education and awareness; and the need for broader support for inclusivity.
It will also support increased representation of women in all levels of leadership.