Finalist 2017: Arlie Sommerfeld, QLD

Home»Finalist 2017: Arlie Sommerfeld, QLD

Name: Arlie Sommerfeld

Community, State: Chinchilla, QLD 

School: Chinchilla State High School

Age: Year 10, 16 years old

Check out this amazing top 40 entry!


From primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women?

It’s not so much the problem of a lack of individuals or programs, it’s that leadership rights are often monopolized by a handful of leaders at the top. Sadly, woman often don’t have the opportunities to practice their leadership talents and capabilities. In order for companies to compete in a global economy, leadership rights need to be redistributed to many more people, especially women. Today many women want to have equal access to becoming CEO or being a C-suite member, and we wholeheartedly endorse that. Having said that, leadership is not just about where you sit and what your job title is and your salary grade, but who you are, what you stand for, and what you can do. Women in conflict are used to facing and overcoming intransigence and insolubility with imagination, optimism and action, and in this spirit we suggest there are in fact several avenues to address this problem of exclusion. This could include, for example, strengthening the role of insider (women) mediators; ensuring that peace agreements are inclusive and provide opportunities for women and other groups to participate actively in implementation; boosting the number of female negotiators and supporting male negotiators to work effectively alongside them; continuing to increase the number of international female mediators; and working on supporting international mediators of both sexes to work in an inclusive and gender sensitive way.

The key asset underpinning these actions is power and access. These women hold connections that no amount of capacity building can buy: access to those who have power and influence. This, coupled with their special mandate in the NWMN, makes them a formidable source for addressing inclusivity in peace processes.

So, we applaud this Nordic effort – not just because we’re happy to see the modelling of good practice, but because we see this idea as a highly strategic way for high-level peace-makers in the global. I am looking forward to seeing partnerships build meaningful, pragmatic inclusivity in our own operations and of those we support.