With the aim of informing voters regarding the candidates and the electoral process, U.N. Women and the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.), in partnership with the Centre for Samoan Studies (CSS), have sponsored four roundtables on Women in Politics.
The first, an interesting discussion with women candidates, was broadcast last Sunday while the second, an analysis of the national political landscape made by media and community representatives, will be aired tonight at 8:00pm on TV3.
The panellists of the second debate hosted by the Centre for Samoan Studies were: Apulu Lance Polu (Editor of Talamua), Merita Huch (News Editor of TV1), Mata’afa Keni Lesa (Editor of Samoa Observer) and Roina Vavatau.
Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea, Director of CSS and facilitator of the lively debate, declared: “Panellists noticed that women make up close to 50% of the population and this should be reflected in the number of women candidates in parliament. Although the panellists expressed surprise that women candidates were standing in only thirteen electorates – some standing against each other, they were optimistic that this might be the beginning of a process where women will be more involved in the future.”
Speaking with the Editor of Samoa Observer Mata’afa Keni Lesa, he said: “This is a very exciting time for Samoa, especially in efforts to have more women in Parliament. We cannot expect a hundred per cent success overnight. As a Samoan, however, I am proud that we are taking the lead in the Pacific in terms of achieving gender equality in Parliament and we have gotten the ball rolling. Now we need to sustain the effort and continue to use the momentum to reach far and go further.”
The third roundtable on “Youth and the Elections” will be broadcast on March 2nd at 8:45pm on TV3 while the fourth one will take place after the elections.
The roundtables are part of the Increased Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS), a joint programme between U.N. Women and U.N.D.P, in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Australian Government.
The Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (I.P.P.W.S.) Programme
The Increased Political Participation of Women in Samoa (I.P.P.W.S.) is a joint programme between U.N. Women and U.N.D.P, in partnership with the Government of Samoa and the Australian Government.
It was launched in March 2015 and works across the following main areas:
(1) facilitating space for discussion and awareness at a community level on the importance of women’s participation in politics, gender equality and good governance;
(2) building the capacity of women in parliamentary processes and procedures in preparation for the elections;
(3) working with political parties by making information and analysis available as well as strengthening internal governance processes to support women candidates, gender equality and women’s rights; (4) providing post-election mentoring support to all members of parliament on activities including responsive budgeting and the preparation of gender-sensitive legislation.