We’re thrilled to welcome you to the Women’s portfolio and hope to create a progressive, respectful, collaborative, inclusive and empowering environment for women in the Law School. We are growing the Portfolio a lot this year and are excited for things to come!
As your Women’s Officers, we are here to provide a platform for women’s advocacy and to raise awareness for issues facing women in law as well as to draw attention to global concerns experienced by women in the greater community.
We’re excited to kick the year off with the annual International Women’s Day event and we are also looking forward to hosting a range of exciting events throughout the year and providing students the occasion to discuss important issues faced by women in the legal profession, as well as giving students a chance to chill out between classes, volunteer in the community and practice their advocacy skills.
We look forward to working with you in 2017! Please feel free to come into the LSS office or send us an email if you have any ideas, questions, or just want to chat. We would love to hear from you!
International Women's Day
On Wednesday the 8th of March the Women's Portfolio was honoured to host the Panel Mind the Gap: It's Not All About the Money.
We chose the theme because we felt that mainstream discussions of gender inequality often focuses on the pay gap while overshadowing the lived experience of women working in the law. We were honoured to present Kristen Walker QC and Magistrate Urfa Masood to talk about their own experiences as well as the women they work with. International Women's Day is about recognising and overcoming the intersectionality of disadvantage that women experience, an encapsulated by the event. Students were given the opportunity to ask the Panellists their own questions, and we also raised $97 which is being sent to UN Women, the money will be used to provide aid to women all around the world.
We were honoured to present our Panel in alphabetical order):
Kristen Walker: a Barrister with expertise in Constitutional, Human Rights, Sexuality and Discrimination Law. Ms Walker has taught at the University of Columbia and University of Arizona, and was an associate to Chief Justice Anthony Mason. Ms Walker worked on Ruhani v Director of Police speaking in the High Court five days after signing the bar role, and appeared on renown cases like Plaintiff M70 v Commonwealth and Rowe v Electoral Commissioner.
Urfa Masood: a Magistrate of Victoria. Magistrate Masood started practising Criminal law in 2003, working for the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Australian Tax Office. She has been a lecturer at College of Law, specialising in Advocacy. With expertise in Criminal, Child Protection and Family law, she brings extensive experience to the Bench. Magistrate Masood is the first Muslim woman to sit on the bench of any Victorian court.
Workshop #1 - Conscious Raising Session: Modern Oppression Open Discussion
The Women's Portfolio is excited to begin our series of workshops! These workshops will be cover a range of topics with a focus on practicality and student involvement.
Our first workshop was a conscious raising session. Conscious raising sessions were a major part of the feminist movement in the 1960s and were used as a form of activism and education.
It was great to have a free flowing discussion on 'modern' forms of oppression with students at MLS. We are even holding more sessions in the future based on positive feedback, so watch this space!
Workshop # 2 - Legal Writing Crash Course
While Law School can be great for learning theory and principles, do you sometimes wonder how all of it works in a practical sense? How exactly does one go about drafting a statement of claim or defence? Conducting research? Writing subpoenas or memoranda?
MULSS Women’s Portfolio was proud to offer women identifying students of MLS the opportunity to gain insight into the world of legal writing.
This Legal Writing Crash Course provided students with the chance to learn and engage with representatives from some of the top law firms. Students learned from Greg Thomas Barristers & Solicitors on Legal Research, Gilbert + Tobin on drafting Memorandums, Herbert Smith Freehills on drafting a Statement of Claim and Minter Ellison on Drafting a Defence.
Thank you to our amazing firm presenters and student attendees for a rich and practical experience!
Workshop # 3 - Women of Colour Breakfast
The MULSS Women’s and Indigenous Portfolio were honoured to present Alice Pung as our keynote speaker at our Women of Colour breakfast. Alice is a writer, editor and lawyer. She is an MLS Alumni, and was a Women's Officer while she was studying at MLS. Alice is currently a practising solicitor and an Artist in Residence at Melbourne University. Her family sought asylum in Australia in the 1980s, which influences her work. In 2015 she was one of Sydney Morning Herald's Young Novelists of the Year. Her novels 'Unpolished Gem' and 'Her Father's Daughter' were shortlisted in the Victorian and NSW Premiers’ Literary awards.
Alice gave an enriching reflection on her career, time as a Women's officer at MLS and law students. It was great to hear from her and see students, MLS academics and lawyers from Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills and Minter Ellison bringing together their personal experiences.