24 Jul 2012

Samoa poised to pass key women's bills

12:26 pm on 24 July 2012

Samoa's government says key bills to help women could be passed this year.

Samoa has presented a periodic report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The associate minister for women, community and development, Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow, has told the committee that the Family Safety bill could be passed by the end of the year. This bill includes marital rape as an offence, allows for legal abortion if it is to preserve the life of the mother, and creates a new offence of solicitation of prostitutes. Gatoloaifaana says another bill, the labour and employment bill, which provides for six weeks paid maternity leave in the private sector, has taken some time, but is now through its first and second reading. Samoa's report to the committee says the issues of women taking up matai titles and not sitting in village council meetings have been raised as a policy issue that also requires a change in traditional attitudes and practices. It says the proposed constitutional amendment to allow for more seats in Parliament for women will facilitate more dialogue on women's access to matai titles."