The roundtables are part of a project to increase political participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS), sponsored by UN Women and UNDP, in collaboration with the Centre for Samoan Studies at NUS.
The second roundtable was an analysis of the current Political Landscape in Samoa prior to the election from the media and community representatives perspectives.
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. Meleisea Malama Meleisea, Director of CSS and facilitator of the lively debate noted that women make up close to 50% of the population and that 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.”