DP 2019/04 The Long Road to Becoming a Parliamentarian in Samoa: Political Apprenticeship, Learning New Language and Pushing Gender Boundaries
In this Discussion Paper, Hon. Ali‘imalemanu Alofa Tuuau tells her story of becoming a member of the National Legislative Assembly in Samoa in 2016. Samoa ranks 166th out of 191 in global rankings on women’s representation in national parliaments. While the quota system in Samoa guarantees women comprise 10 per cent of national parliamentary members, Hon. Ali‘imalemanu‘s story reveals how the matai or chiefly system and its associated decision making and language systems present significant hurdles for women with ambitions to become a member of parliament. The paper concludes with a message to all women who are thinking about stepping up for leadership roles.