To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the women who make our College a world-leading institution for legal education and research.
Prisca Ochan is a Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/Political Science student at ANU who has been nationally recognised for her academic, professional and community achievements as a top 10 finalist in the 2019 Lawyers' Weekly Women in Law Awards (Law Student of the Year). In addition to her studies, she is a paralegal in the Australian Public Service and is involved in a number of co-curricular pursuits.
What inspired you to study law?
I’ve wanted to become a lawyer for a really long time – since I was seven! Did I know what a lawyer was at age seven? No. But here I am, about 15 years later, on my way to achieving this lifelong goal!
What cemented my desire to study law and, of course, has motivated me to continue with this degree, is my passion for social justice and access to justice. I am cognizant of the fact that things such as your skin colour, your English ability, your accent, and your socioeconomic status can affect whether or not you are able to access justice and the quality of legal representation and advice that you receive. I want to be in a position to change that.
And finally, I just want to see more people who look like me in the legal profession here in Australia!
What motivates you?
I am motivated by my desire to constantly do better and be better.
Who is a woman you look up to?
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is about recognising the achievements and contributions of women all around the world. In 2020, words like “feminism” and “intersectionality” are part of everyday vernacular, so it can be easy to forget that the unacknowledged labour of women.
The widespread attention of these words also highlights an important facet that intersects the experiences of women: race. I am a Black woman, and I navigate the world as such. While my gender does indeed affect the way in which I walk in the world, so does the colour your body.
To me, that is also what International Women’s Day is about: acknowledging the varied experiences of women and how their intersecting identities can shape those experiences.
What positive changes would you like to see made for women in law?
We all know that the law has a diversity problem, so we can definitely start there when it comes to positive changes! I would like to see more faces that look like mine in the legal profession.
Moreover, while most law graduates are women, women are still missing from the top ranks of the legal profession. As a woman with big ambitions, I would like for there to be more support for women to join and stay in the upper echelons of the legal profession.
See more Inspiring Women of ANU Law