“EMPOWERMENT to women around our region is something I feel is very important because we have the lowest rate of female representation at the political decision making tables of the world. So that is concern for me and am sure it is concern for many people around the world.”
Electoral commissioner of Samoa Papali’i Malietau Malietoa highlighted in a press conference on Wednesday.
The electoral commissioner was invited by the UN Women to share experiences of Samoa government and what they have done to promote women’s political participation.
He shared that Samoa been independence now for 51 years and in that odd years of 51they had have a lot females in their parliament.
However he mentioned it was never at a level equal to the male representation at their national parliament which has 49 seats.
In 2011 general election in Samoa, the number of women decline from four which have been elected in 2006.
And the Samoa government was at the view point that something had to be done to ensure that there was a minimum amount of female representation in their parliament.
Papali’i Malietau Malietoa shared there they came about their temporary special measure which was to implement special seats or floating seat in their parliament to deal with that issue and the number of those floating seat is five.
So after 2016 and to the future, there will always be minimum of five Samoa women in their national parliament.
He said as the electoral commissioner he believe that is a good standard to establish it is a good standard but perhaps regionally and internationally as well.
“We took the particular perspective that we needed legislation because for us it was inside their constitution, if we are going to add extra five floating seat we needed to amend the constitution and also need special legislation to ensure that those seats will reserved only for females. That is the avenue that we took to implement TSM to support female participation in our political system and also at the table where political decisions are made,” he shared.
He highlighted that doesn’t necessarily means that all countries and the pacific region should follow their example.
“In by merely specific to Samoa, but the strengthen of the Samoa methodology lays in the fact that are in passing legislation we have signed not only internally in our own country, regionally and internationally that we are taking this issue very seriously. That is an important issue important enough for our national parliament to pass legislation ballot.”
Papali’i Malietau Malietoa commended the Solomon Islands government for starting the process of empowering women.
“They have started the process, and have taken the fair step and that in reality is a very important thing.”
Ms Tonni Brodber from UN Women of United Nation’s Advancing Gender Justice Team Leader welcomes Papali’i Malietau Malietoa to share experience of his country’s government and what they have done to promote women’s political participation.
Ms Brodber acknowledged the collaboration with the European Union on the project to promote political participation in Solomon Islands of UN Women’s ‘Strongim Mere project’.
“We are so guided with this project with our partner Vios Blong Mere Solomon islands.”
Ms Brodber said one element and important element of this project is to share pacific experiences.
“To find out what has been done in other countries to promote women’s political participation in the pacific region, and to share these as better practices for what may be possible something that could be adopted in other countries like the Solomon Islands.”
By TRIXIE CARTER