Women in Leadership Samoa Program Empowers Women to become Directors

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07 May 2019, Apia Samoa.  Although 49 percent of Samoa’s population are females and statistics show that women and girls often outperform male counterparts academically with an increasing number of women occupying various leadership roles in Samoa – the number of females Board members are still very low.

The Ministry for Public Enterprises reports that women represent 24% of governing boards for Public Bodies and 6% for Private Boards.

Dr Cam Wendt of MPE was the 1st presenter.

In its effort to strengthen opportunities for women’s participation in leadership pathways the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) Project in partnership with the Samoa Institute of Directors are collaborating in implementing professional development programs for current and aspiring women directors. The main objective is to enhance leadership capacity of women to effectively and efficiently take on roles in directorship.

Statistics show a low number of women applying to be Directors of Publuc Bodies in Samoa.

A 5 day taining programme facilitated by the Samoa Institute of Directors (SIOD) and funded by the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) Project is being held at the Central Bank of Samoa conference room this week with close to 30 participants.

Participants of the 5-day Directors Course

WILS is a three year joint project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women, with funding from the Government of Australia in partnership with the Government of Samoa.

Alanna Mapu, Programme Manager for WILS said that despite the significant advancements in gender equality in Samoa, there still remain challenges and part of that is the low representation of women in directorship.

“The WILS project anticipates that as a result of this training, more women are eligible to apply in July and more women are anticipated to be selected to increase women’s representation in directorship”.

This weeks Course is the 3rd of this round of trainings. The first was held in October 2018 and the second one in April 2019 where 51 women have so far received a Certificate of Completion accredited by SQA from the Samoa Institute of Directors and the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) Project.

A Call for Application is set to open up in July this year and this training hopes to encourage and provide participants with the skills needed to apply for and take on the positions of directors if successful.

Participants are learning about processes and the technical areas of the various roles and responsibilities expected of directors. The course content raises their eligibility to apply and to be elected as board members.

Director of SIOD Funemalafai Onosefulu Fuatai said that trainings are offered to women of all backgrounds from the community.

“The sponsorship of UN and AUSAID have enabled us to further enhance their skills and knowledge on the roles and responsibilities of a director;

“Our 5 day Directors course covers Legal Responsibilities, Finance, Strategic Planning, Relationships with the CEO as well as building skills in Analytical approaches and Critical thinking;

“The ability of women to attend the noted trainings are often hampered by lack of opportunity and accessibility and the support of the UN and AUSAID through the WILS project in implementing is appreciated,” added Funemalafai.

The training continues this week and closes on Friday.