Finalist 2017: Tess Levitzke, NSW
Name: Tess Levitzke
Community, State: Albury, NSW
School: Victory Lutheran College
Age: Grade 11, 17
Check out this amazing top 40 entry!
From primary school to Prime Minister, how can we create strong pathways to power for women?
This is the ultimate chicken and egg situation. The chicken: External barriers to female empowerment will be expelled once women in powerful roles are normalized. Women will fearlessly pursue promotions and the depressing statistics about the lack of female representation in leadership domains will be no more. The egg: We need to eradicate external barriers to get women into those roles in the first place. Both sides are right. So rather than engage in philosophical arguments as to which comes first, let’s agree to wage the battle on both fronts. Though I am bolstering women to address the chicken, I support those who are focusing on the egg. That way, in the future, there will be no female politicians, managers or directors. There will just be politicians, managers, and directors. For many men, the assumption is that they can have both a successful career and a fulfilling personal life, whereas the media tells women that they have to choose between the two. To tackle society’s most pressing issues we need to unleash the leadership of both men and women, dispel all stereotypes and myths of what a successful woman looks like, and allow young girls to determine that for themselves. It’s time we phase out the old lessons of submissiveness and fragility that made girls victims. Girls are so much more than that. We grow to be business women, mothers artists, CEOs, tradeswomen and Prime Ministers. We are whatever we want and work to be, and more. There are tangible steps we can take towards achieving this-supporting young leaders in their ability to motivate their peers, build organizational skills and communicate effectivity. But more importantly than that, we need to teach young girls of their innate competency to reach as high as humanely possible. One of my favourite authors Alice Walker observed; “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”. It’s time we teach girls not to wait for their power to be offered to them, but instead open their eyes to the reality of their own innate charisma, ingenuity, and artistry.