Collaborating with the Samoa Institute of Directors to encourage greater participation by women in board Directorships

MONDAY 6th MAY 2019: Manua Dr Cam Wendt, Assistant CEO for Public Bodies Governance, Ministry for Public Enterprises spoke to a group of 26 current and aspiring women Directors on the duty and responsibility of Board Directors. This is part of a professional development program organized by the Samoa Institute of Directors (SIOD) and funded by the Women in Leadership Project (WIL). The main purpose of the program is to enhance the leadership capacity of women to prepare them to assume directorship roles on the Boards of Public Bodies.

“There are 181 Directors serving on 28 Public Body Boards. A 138 of these directors are men (76%) and the remaining 43 (24%) are women. While at first glance this may seem like a huge discrepancy we need to take into consideration that the total number of applicants for directorships is 240. A 187 are from men (78%) and 53 from women (22%). Of the 53 women who submitted applications, 43 are currently serving as directors (81%). While this speaks highly of the calibre of women applicants it also means that it we want to see more women on Boards, we need to get more of them interested in applying” (Manua Dr Cam Wendt).

Manua shared with participants what they could expect should they be successful in being appointed to the Board of a Public Body, the local operating context and the legal mandate underpinning the Director’s role. He touched on a Director’s ‘duty of care’ and the importance of ‘acting in good faith’ in the interest of the Public Body. He then spoke specifically on six fundamental duties expected of Directors. These were (1) policy making, (2) financial management & accountability, (3) planning, (4) reporting & performance, (5) risk management and (6) recruitment & selection and performance monitoring of the General Manager.

“On behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry for Public Enterprises I acknowledge the effort by SIOD to raise awareness of the important role that boards of Directors play in guiding and driving improved performance by our Public Bodies. The effort that SIOD is making to encourage greater interest and participation by women is admirable and I hope my small contribution will inspire them to put their hands up come the next round of director recruitment scheduled of July 2019”, (Manua Dr Cam Wendt).


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