Samoa has recently held its first election since amending its constitution in 2013 to require at least ten percent of the seats in Parliament to be held by women. In a historical first for Samoa, a female Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, has been elected and ten percent of members of Parliament are women.
The forum seeks to enhance engagement between women in the region and support research into gender equality and creating gender sensitive parliaments. The forum also provides an opportunity for New Zealand parliamentarians to actively engage in building stronger legislatures in the Pacific and strengthen their understanding of the Pacific Region.
The programme has an overarching theme of the legislative base for the economic empowerment of women in the Pacific. Panel discussions will be held, with contributions from the New Zealand members who will share their experiences in the business and private sectors, in addition to discussing how members of Parliament can support women’s economic empowerment with strategic policies and legislation. Other sessions will focus on removing barriers to women’s employment, women’s access to finance, and targeted support to women entrepreneurs.