International Women's Day

Empowering the next generation of female leaders

#CountHerIn | Lauriston is committed to nurturing the intellectual curiosity of girls by empowering them to be financially literate, entrepreneurial and career ready. By investing in girls’ education, skills development, and supporting their economic opportunities, we can accelerate progress towards a more inclusive and equitable society. Together, we can create a future where every girl has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to her full potential.

Lauriston has a proud history of empowering women, with founding sisters Margaret and Lilian Irving leaving their secure jobs to establish a girls’ school which quickly acquired an enviable reputation for academic and sporting excellence. Since Lauriston’s doors first opened in 1901, all of Lauriston’s Principals have not only continued the Irving sisters’ legacy, but have expanded and strengthened all facets of the School’s programs to ensure its’ students receive an innovative, challenging and empowering education that inspires them to be courageous lifelong learners.

Our vibrant school community provided a diverse range of perspectives on the 2024 theme of economic empowerment, when interviewed by Kaaya, Beatrice and Milly.

Lauriston’s curriculum is rich in opportunities for our students to solve real-world business challenges, develop their financial literacy skills and mentor students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as told by Beatrice, Maria, Mia and Harriet.

Empowering Girls Through Education: Breaking Gender Norms and Achieving Equality

Principal Susan Just highlights the slow adoption of emerging digital technologies by Australian companies, which is impeding productivity growth. She also emphasises the need for empowering girls through education to break gender norms, achieve gender equality, and ensure that girls can truly benefit from their education.

International Women's Day Twilight Event

The Twilight format resulted in a wonderfully successful event, with strong attendance from alumnae, parents and students who keenly listened to the lively panel discussion on the IWD theme: Accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment.

Hosted by Principal Susan Just, panellists dissected a variety of issues facing society, including the gender pay gap, societal expectations on women, financial literacy and policy reform to better address gender inequalities.

As part of our commitment to economic empowerment, Lauriston proudly ran a business clothing donation drive for Fitted For Work at the event. Fitted For Work is a charitable organisation dedicated to outfitting women from disadvantage for job interviews and returning to work, and we are incredibly grateful for the support that the Lauriston community demonstrated for this wonderful cause.

Senator Jane Hume (OL 1988)


Senator Jane Hume is a Liberal Senator for Victoria and Shadow Minister for Finance, the Public Service, and Shadow Special Minister of State. After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce, she started her career in the financial services industry, working for the National Australia Bank. She then went on to work at Rothschild Australia, Deutsche Bank, and prior to her election, Australian Super. She also served as a board director at two iconic Melbourne institutions; Federation Square and the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Jane was elected as a Liberal Senator for Victoria in 2016 and upon her election, she was appointed Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics. Following the 2019 election, Jane was appointed Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology. Then in 2020, she was promoted to the position of Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Digital Economy. In 2021, her responsibilities were expanded again, and she became the first Minister for Women's Economic Security during the Morrison Government.

Caroline Paterson (OL 1993)


Caroline is a family law trial barrister and mediator. After admission to practice in 2004, she was a solicitor in private practice. She signed the bar roll in May 2011.

In 2016, she became a nationally accredited mediator and obtained a Master of Laws from Monash University, in which she undertook course work in the areas of family law, negotiation, mediation and dealing with high conflict people. As a mediator she works to provide the parties with a supportive and efficient process focussed on outcomes which are just and equitable and enable them and their families to get out of the court system with dignity.

Caroline is actively involved in the life of the Victorian Bar outside of her own practice, including committee and Board work as the Deputy Chair, Family Law Bar Association, Victorian Bar and President, Victorian Golfing Lawyers Society.

Gemma Acton (OL 1998)

Gemma Acton has worked across finance and broadcast media for more than two decades. She is currently the Network Finance Editor at 7 News where she presents the latest financial and business news to audiences across the entire country. She is also a regular guest host across the network’s news programs. Prior to this, she hosted broadcast programmes at CNBC International in London and worked as an on-air correspondent pursuing stories across Europe for the network. She also spent a decade working in investment banking and wealth management throughout Europe, the Middle East and the United States and has an MBA from Wharton.

We are grateful for the insights and experiences shared by all of our panellists at the event. We hope their words continue to inspire and motivate our community towards achieving their goals and aspirations.

"It's not that women don't have the intellect - 60% of graduates are female, so the intellect is bold - know your worth and what you bring to the organisation."

- Gemma Acton (OL 1998)