Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No3 Faaulusau Losa Duffy Stowers has called for an increase in the quota for women in parliament from 10% to 15% or 5 to 8 in numbers.
Speaking during recent parliamentary debates on constitutional amendments, Faaulusau argued that Parliament were being asked to increase the number of cabinet ministers as well as the number of sitting members of parliament.
“That is my request since we are increasing the numbers in cabinet and we are looking at amendments to increase the numbers in this house (of parliament)”.
“So shouldn’t we also then raise the quota for women from 10 to 15 percent, to maintain the balance”.
“O le tatalo lena a lo’u sui i lenei taimi, aua o lea ua maua atu o le a siitia le fuainumera o le kapeneta, ia o loo iai foi le tulafono e siitia ai sui mamalu o le maota lenei;
“E le ono siitia ai fo’i la ma tina ma tamaita’i i le 15% mai le 10% – ia ona paleni lelei lea.”
Faaulusau is the 50th member of parliament who triggered the temporary measure following the last general elections in 2016 – when only 4 women secured seats.
The temporary measure of 10% meant the minimum number of women was 5 (10% of 49 rounded up).
An increase of 15%, with additional seats proposed in the Electoal Act amendments to 51 electoral co constituencies means the minimum number of women would be 8 rounded to nearest whole number.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi however posed a challenge to the Member of Parliament saying that there was no limit to the number of women and if promotional work was effective, the whole Samoa parliament could be women.
There is a minimum but there is no ceiling, which means, do your job (to encourage women parliamentarians).
“O le mea lea ou te fai atu ai o la outou e fai la tou talaiga ia tina uma le maota lenei, aua e leai se tapulaa o iai, na pau le tulaga lea e iai o le tapulaa maualalo ae leai se tapulaa maualuga, lona uiga fai la tou galuega.”
The Prime Minister argued that even if the numbers were increased, if women do not support the change and drive other women to enter parliament, then no real change in numbers would ever be achieved.
“O lea ou te malamalama i le minimum lea tou te mananao ai, ae ou te fai atu pe sii lava i le 50% ae a le faia le galuega a outou tina e fesoasoani iai, e le mafai lava ona o’o i lena numera.”