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In Samoa, as in most small island countries of the Pacific, women have traditionally played the role of homemakers. However, in recent decades women have been increasingly participating in various facets of socio-economic life, playing an active role, particularly in agriculture, commerce and trade, health, education and community services. For instance, women have a central role in health as caretakers of the family and village health and sanitation through the Women's Committees. Each community has a women’s committee which is responsible for the promotion of village health and sanitation by carrying out inspections and working closely with health authorities.

Recognizing the vital contribution that women can and should make to national development, the Government had created a Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which is responsible for the formulation and implementation of programmes and projects for enhancing the social and economic status of women in the country. The Government has also appointed a Women's Advisory Committee to advise the Minister for Women’s Affairs on matters of interest or concern to women and women's committees and organizations. The Advisory Committee also assists the Ministry in carrying out the government's policies in regard to the work of women and women's organizations.

At present, there are more than 50 non-governmental women's organizations registered with the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Of these, two are large umbrella organizations: the National Council of Women with over 2,000 individual members; and the Women’s Development Committee with over 6.000 individual members. The non-governmental women's organizations largely comprise health committees, community development groups, sports groups, church-related groups, educational groups, alumni associations, fund-raising groups, and internationally affiliated groups. All these groups participate in the relevant activities and projects implemented by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.

Despite the active intervention of the government and non-governmental organizations, the formulation of comprehensive plans and programmes for the betterment of Samoan women is handicapped to a considerable extent by the lack of reliable and up-to-date statistical data and information relating to various issues and concerns affecting women. The present profile attempts to bring together the available data with a view to highlighting gaps and deficiencies in existing data and knowledge about women in Samoa. It is hoped that the profile would serve as a basis for appropriate initiatives and actions to improve and strengthen the databases on various aspects of women’s concerns in the country