27 Jan 2005

Academic notes changes brought about by democracy in Samoa

4:31 pm on 27 January 2005

A Samoan academic says the development of the democratic process has helped women into parliament.

Dr Asofou So'o, from Samoa's National University, is set to speak on the impact of Samoa's electoral system on democratic developments and the matai system at the University of the South Pacific this afternoon.

He says it used to be, that a senior-ranking male matai or chief was almost guaranteed a seat in the House.

Dr So'o says despite that strong traditional preference for male leadership, three women have been elected to parliament.

"A number of females have become matais, but its still very small in proportion to males holding titles. But those who have had the opportunity to hold titles have really progressed to the highest level."

Dr So'o says he commends Naomi Fiame Mataafa, for being the only female member of the 13-person Cabinet.

She is currently serving her fourth term as a minister.

He says increasing numbers of women are running for office.