Australian Government Development Research Award Scheme (ADRAS) and
Centre for Samoan Studies (CSS), National University of Samoa (NUS)

With support from ADRAS, CSS has initiated a research project looking at women’s political participation in village government in Samoa.

Why is this project important?

Women’s low political participation contributes to their economic disempowerment in communities and households, limiting their contribution to the prioritizing and allocating of economic resources and associated opportunities through parliament or local government.

Aim of the project

The objective of the project is to provide data that will support the Government of Samoa to improve progress towards achievement of Millennium Development Goal 3 to promote gender equality and empower women towards increasing their participation in local and national government.

The project will focus on political participation and economic development of women at the village level. It is anticipated that greater participation of women in local village government and village-based economic organizations lead to greater political and economic participation at the national level.

Project activities

The project spans 2 years and consists of:

  • A nation-wide survey of 330+ villages in Samoa (2013/14) to identify and profile decision-makers at the village level, including the characteristics of leadership, gender and participation in political and economic village-based organizations
  • A qualitative study of 30 villages identified as having low, medium, and high levels of women’s participation (2014/15). Interviews and focus groups will provide more in-depth knowledge on the barriers to having more women participate in village-based organisations, including to what extent these structures impose a ‘roadblock’ to women’s political participation not only at the local level but also at the national level.

Research team

Measina Meredith: Research Coordinator
Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea: Research Director
Dr. Penelope Schoeffel: Deputy Research Director
Muagututi’a Dr. Ioana Chan Mow: Methodological Advisor
Semau Ausage Lauano: Project Statistician

Research partners

The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD).