8 Mar 2012

Samoa opposition questions need for more women in parliament

1:49 pm on 8 March 2012

A spokesperson for Samoa's opposition party, Tautua Samoa, is questioning the need to increase women's representation in parliament.

The government is proposing to amend the constitution to allow the creation of five reserved seats, to ensure women comprise at least 10 percent of parliament.

Last week, a forum organised by the Samoa Women's Leadership Group revealed anger among women over the way the proposal is being pushed through but approval of its intent.

However Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi says there's nothing wrong with the existing system.

"Is this really what the Samoan women want? We have given them the freedom the last 50 years to run in parliament. Do they really want to go into parliament? We can't force them if they don't want to. If they're comfortable with the way things are, I mean, what's wrong with the current system? Have we deprived any rights of our women? The answer is no."

Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi says workshops should be held to find out exactly what women do want.