Leadership Pathways of Women in Samoa: Research Project, May 2022
In December 2020, Sustineo was engaged UN Women under the Women in Leadership in Samoa (WILS) Project to lead the design and implementation of Research on Leadership Pathways of Women in Samoa.
The purpose was to better understand the barriers that hinder Samoan women’s access to leadership roles across different levels of society and to identify innovative strategies to support women’s access to leadership.
The research had four objectives:
- To identify pathways of leadership for Samoan women.
- To identify factors that facilitate women’s access to leadership in Samoa and factors that create barriers.
- To identify strategies used by Samoan women leaders to gain access to leadership positions.
- To identify innovative strategies for development partners on how to support and encourage an increase in women’s access to leadership in Samoa.
These research objectives were investigated through a mixed-method approach, drawing primarily on qualitative data.
Data collection involved face-to-face engagements with 145 men and women participants, including 94 participants from 12 focus group discussions across six villages in Upolu and six in Savaii, and 51 interviews with leaders of organizations across six societal levels: village, parliament, government, business sector, women-led organizations1, and church.
Awareness of existing leadership programmes, including the UN Women’s Women in Leadership Samoa (WILS) Project, was not a determining factor in participant selection. Data collection was conducted by experienced Samoan researchers.
The WILS Project is a three-year project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with funding from the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Samoa.