Women Board Directors in Samoa increase

By Sapeer Mayron 21 July 2020, 4:00PM

Recent graduates of the Women in Leadership Samoa training programme for prospective women directors have made their way onto Government boards, some of whom for the first time.

This week, 26 more women are undertaking the week-long course run by the United Nations and the Samoa Institute of Directors (S.I.O.D.).

S.I.O.D. Chief Executive Officer, Funemalafai Onosefulu Fuatai, said that while men can be territorial about board governance and management roles, the COVID-19 crisis has proven women have a role to play in leadership.

Highlighting the national responses of women-led nations like New Zealand and Denmark, Funemalafai said women have proven themselves to manage a crisis quickly and assertively.

U.N. Women in Leadership Samoa Project Coordinator Jordanna Mareko said the Professional Development Programme for Women Directors has proven to be a sure way of helping women advance in the public sector.

Of the last group of trainees, nine are now sitting on the boards of Public Bodies.

In May, Ministry of Public Enterprises Assistant C.E.O. for Public Bodies Governance Manua Cam Wendt said among the 28 boards, 138 directors are men while 43 are women, out of 187 male applicants and 53 female. 

“While this speaks highly of the calibre of women applicants it also means that it we want to see more women on Boards, we need to get more of them interested in applying,” Manua said.

The 26 women in this month’s training come from the private sector, non-profit and agriculture sectors, as well as the public service.

They will be led during the week by Manua on the roles of a director, former Attorney General Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu on their legal responsibilities, chartered accountant Sharlene McFarland from Business Link Pacific on financial reporting and analytics, Tuiloma Sina Retzlaff on strategic planning and SIOD Deputy Chair Matautia Rula Levi on the relationship between a CEO and board director. 

By the end of the week the participants will have earned a certificate in their training and will be more equipped to apply for board director positions. 

The programme is funded by the United Nations, the Australian Government and the Government of Samoa. 

By Sapeer Mayron 21 July 2020, 4:00PM

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