It was another very busy day at the shop. Tourists flocked in and out, buying almost everything in sight. They especially loved the hats. I stood there, beaming. The shop’s mine. I opened it last year after I participated in a UN Women’s Project.
Naturally, I faced opposition from the community. As a nofotane woman, I live in my husband’s village and with his family. I’m not allowed to dress as the other village women and I’m not a part of the decision-making process in my home or community.
Thankfully, in the end, the community came around and supported me.
This story was inspired by this article. I was curious about what life was like for women in Samoa. In Samoa, a nofotane woman is one who has married into a family and whose social status is determined by that of her husband. The Fund for Gender Equality project implemented by Samoa Victims Support Group, improved nofotane women’s access to sustainable employment and increased their participation and leadership within village decision-making bodies. It is this group which I believe was responsible for putting together a project which delivered skills and livelihood training for the women.