“I will not be limited to the kitchen.”

This was just one of the many strong statements made by Josephine Ogeuta, a third year student of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) during a commemoration of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.

Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (I.W.D). This year’s theme is Press for Progress, given a continuous and strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity and equality.

To commemorate, the Faculty of Arts (FoA) Peer 2 Peer Group organized initiatives which included presentations and a short Film Screening.

Josephine Ogeuta shared her personal experiences as a Samoan woman in her home, community, and education environment.

Ogeuta questioned the role of women in Samoan history in the 1930s to the 1950s and why it is not part of the official history, the history of which we do not learn of in primary and secondary education.

Ogeuta believes the traces of history that include women remain untold and it’s evident in its omission within primary and secondary education standard benchmarks.

Ogeuta has taken it upon herself, to challenge the various cultural norms and break the barriers that she now realizes, poses a hindrance towards achieving her goals and aspirations as a young woman in Samoa.

“I will not limit my capacity and role as a young woman to the kitchen,” she said, putting emphasis on women and girls having the ability to shape their own lives and decisions.

Following Ogeuta’s presentation, Dr. Saui’a Louise Mataia-Milo shared a sneak peek at a research she was working on, focused around women.

The presentation displayed the various roles of women in Samoan history, including a tribute to the early pioneers of women recognition.

The images illustrated various perspectives of how our women and girls were perceived, what they were expected to do and look like as indigenous women.

One perspective of our Samoan women and girls that was very obvious from the snippets, was how they were sexualized namely by the Marines and those who took the photographs. However, these historical facts are never within conversation.

“Back then, our women and girls never had the chance or circumstances that enabled them to shape their own lives or make their own decisions, no one told their stories, I urge young women, to make your own history and tell your own story,” she said.

The Faculty of Arts Peer2Peer Initiative were behind the occasion as a part of involving youth in a youth initiative.