Samoa’s quota for women’s MP’s cited during Am. Samoa’s Constitutional Convention


American Samoa’s Constitutional Convention Committee proposed an amendment for women as part of the territory’s constitution preamble.

In doing so referenced the current constitutional quota for women’s Member of Parliament representation in Samoa.

Samoa News reported that Tapa’au Dr Dan Aga, ASG’s Political Status, Constitutional Review, and Federal Relations Executive Director cited the 10 percent Constitutional quota used by the Samoa Government to assure women are represented in Parliament, during the hearing.

“I read Samoa’s Constitution under Article 44 Section 1A, whereas its 10 percent quota, and when looking at American Samoa’s data it’s for 4 percent in the House of Representatives and 5 percent in the Senate and clearly depicts that our percentage is lower than Samoa.”

Adding that no State or a US territory has this type of law in place for women’s representation.

Tapaa’u said a number of concerns were raised as to why he was doing research on women’s representation, when in fact there is no law that bans women from running for public office.

The proposed measures deliberated on during the Constitutional Review Committee hearing and it was outlined the American Samoa Constitution does not state as a value the people’s commitment to women’s inclusion in security and justice.

The general memorandum of the resumption of the constitutional review committee meeting stated the proposed amendment would add such a statement to the preamble with the intention of raising and improving the status of women in American Samoa.

“Proposed language for preamble: Whereas the American Samoa Government shall be committed to women’s inclusion, safety, and justice.

“The importance of the preamble contains the philosophy on which the entire Constitution has been built. It provides a standard to examine and evaluates any law and action of the Government to find out whether it is good or bad. Hence it is the soul of the Constitution.”

Tapa’au Dr. Dan Aga, emphasized the Samoan proverb “E au le inailau a tamaitai” which means the women’s row of thatch was completed, referring to the strength of women.

He referenced a book called “tama’ita’i Samoa”, as Tapa’au spoke of what occurred in Falealupo that led to this famous Samoan proverb.

In the end, the Committee voted not to allow the proposed amendment on women as some pointed out there are no bans on women running for public office.