Overcoming the Barriers to Women’s Participation in Local Government in Samoa
Summary of publication
Overcoming the barriers to women's participation in local government in Samoa is an Australian Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) research project which was awarded in the last ADRAS round in 2012. The research was carried out by the Centre for Samoan Studies, National University of Samoa from April 2013 – June 2015. The objective of the project was to provide data to support Samoan government policies to improve progress towards achievement of the then Millennium Development Goal 3 to promote gender equality and empower women, with the goal of increasing their participation in local and national governments.
Key research includes that the system of traditional village government in Samoa presents significant barriers that limit women's access to and participation in decision-making forums in local government councils, church leadership, school management and community-based organisations. Without significant participation in leadership decision-making at the village level, it is difficult for women to become – or to be seen as – national leaders. Research findings have been used to widen the national conversation about the low rate of women's participation in Parliament and to include consideration of impediments to women's participation in local government, and local and national economies. The final research report was launched on 10 July 2015 and shared with relevant stakeholders, including members of parliament, government ministries, civil society and aid agencies. The full findings and recommendations of the research can be accessed in the attached reports.