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Marjorie Bwalya Musonda Mpundu

Senior Strategy and Operations Officer, World Bank Group

Why did you decide to study law?

I originally planned on following my parents’ footsteps and becoming a teacher. While at university I was inspired by a female law professor who stood out in a profession that was predominantly male. I realized that I could use the law to fight for the rights of girls and to fight poverty.

What is your proudest professional moment thus far?

In 2018 I co-organized a conference that brought together heads of judiciaries in Africa to discuss gender-based violence, women’s access to justice, and the role of the courts in addressing gender within the judiciary. The conference facilitated discussions about bringing justice to the most vulnerable in a culture that shies away from such conversations.

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Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?

I do not regret the path that I have taken. I still hope to go back to Cornell to do my SJD and get back into academia someday.

Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.

Self-doubt and the “impostor syndrome” creep in here and there, especially when the reality of pay and promotion gaps are so glaring, but having had so many successes in my academic and professional aspirations gives me the confidence that there is no ceiling to the achievements that one can attain. We are not defined by our gender. We are professionals in our own right!

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What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?

Seek mentors, be intentional, and be prepared to use your profession to fight for human rights, especially for the less fortunate and the vulnerable.

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