The 2021 International Women's Day theme ‘Choose to Challenge’ is about choosing to have a voice and speaking up on gender inequality to incite change. 

At Lauriston, challenging the status quo has long been the norm. When Lilian and Margaret Irving created our school in 1901, it was a hub for the empowerment of young women. The Irving sisters looked forward to a time when a well-rounded education for girls — including achievement in their academic studies, sport, the arts, debating, public speaking and outdoor education — would be the rule for girls, not the exception. 

Read more about how we are achieving this in this recent Age article 'A fine tradition of taking risks and challenging the status quo'.

The power of a vision

We appreciate the world was a very different place in 1901. But Lilian and Margaret Irving did more than just imagine the change they wanted to see. They had the courage to be that change, and for the past 120 years courage has been the Lauriston value that underpins all others.

Lauriston gives our students the courage to believe that when they set their minds to it, anything is possible. The courage to be bold, daring and forward looking; to see beyond themselves, find themselves, transform themselves. And maybe, like the Lauriston girls that have gone before, go on to change the world.

Looking back on 120 years of looking forward 

This year, we’re looking back on 120 years of looking forward by recognising the collective achievements of our wonderful community. We asked alumnae from 1966 to 2018 to reflect upon their time at Lauriston and how it helped them to find the courage to challenge, step outside their comfort zone and be the change they want to see in the world. 


International Women's Day breakfast

Our annual International Women’s Day breakfast is about acknowledging and celebrating the rich and diverse experiences of our alumnae community and giving our current students courage and hope for the future of women in the workplace.

This year we were fortunate to have three wonderful leaders from our alumnae – Senator Hon Jane Hume, Dr Katie Blunt and Dr Emma Blelcher – share their experiences and discuss the challenges they have faced and are facing in their careers. Our guest speakers also spoke around the importance of having a voice and the courage to use it to address gender inequality and incite change in the workplace. 

DSC 7170 Panellists l r Senator Hon Jane Hume Dr Emma Belcher Dr Katie Blunt resize

Senator the Hon Jane Hume (Class of 1988)

Jane Hume is Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy in the Morrison Coalition Government. A member of the Liberal Party, Jane was first elected as a Senator for Victoria in 2016 and was appointed Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics. Prior to her election to parliament, Jane worked in banking, finance, investment, economics and superannuation, and was on the Boards of The Royal Children’s Hospital and Federation Square.

Katie Blunt (Class of 2013)

Despite an ATAR of 99.8, leading Lauriston Girls' School as its School Co-Captain and rising to become an elite water polo player, Katie was sure her first-choice university course – a Bachelor of Medicine – was beyond her reach! Flash forward to 2021 and Dr Katie Blunt has been recently awarded Junior Doctor of the Year by the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria. Katie is a passionate advocate of rural and regional health and currently works at Bendigo Health and is the Co-Chair of the Pre-Vocational Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society (PVOGS) ANZ Committee.

Emma Belcher (Class of 1994)

Emma has spent the last 20 years in the US advocating for the need to acknowledge, humanise and ultimately solve the existential threat of nuclear weapons. She was recently appointed President of Ploughshares Fund, a Washington-based organisation.