UN Women congratulates Fiame

United Nations body UN Women has offered its congratulations to Samoa’s first female Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa and says her assent shows progress towards gender equality in the Pacific.

In a statement issued by the UN Women four days after Fiame’s position as Prime Minister was validated by the Court of Appeal, the UN agency said women's political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for democracy.

“Women's political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for genuine democracy as it facilitates women's direct engagement in public decision-making and is a means of ensuring better accountability to approximately half of a nation’s population of women and girls," the UN agency's statement reads.

“The appointment of Samoa’s first woman prime minister is a historic moment, not just for the country, but for the Pacific, signifying progress towards gender equality for the region. 

"UN Women offers warm on her assumption of the position of Prime Minister of Samoa and on becoming Samoa's first woman Prime Minister.”

According to the UN Women, studies show higher numbers of women in parliament generally contribute to stronger attention to not only women's issues but to social development and equal societies.

“The Pacific region has the world’s lowest levels of women in parliament (7.3 per cent as of March 2018). The current appointment exemplifies how progress is being made following the first woman elected as leader of a Pacific Island country when former President Hilda Heine was sworn into office in Marshall Islands in 2016.”

The UN Women say that in March of the same year, Fiame was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in Samoa following the 2016 general election.

“UN Women supports governments to realize their gender equality commitments in leadership and decision making.

“In Samoa, UN Women together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supports women’s empowerment through training and social norm change through the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) project, generously supported by the Australian Government and jointly implemented with the Government of Samoa.

“UN Women looks forward to working with Prime Minister Fiame across the broad range of gender equality issues which concern Samoa, the Pacific region, and the world at large and acknowledges the progress made by outgoing Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and his team in progressing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Samoa.”

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