The Marjorie Cook Foundation has made a $100,000 gift to the endowment of the Women, Leadership & Equality Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The first and only program of its kind at an American law school, WLE was founded with an initial $250,000 gift from the Foundation.
"The support of the trustees of the Marjorie Cook Foundation has been instrumental in the program’s success," said Paula Monopoli, WLE founder and professor of law at UM Carey Law. "Because of the Foundation’s generosity we have had the ability for the last decade to educate more than 90 students selected as Rose Zetzer Fellows in the theory and practice of gender equality for women in our profession." Rose Zetzer, a 1925 alumna of UM Carey Law, was the first woman to gain admission to the Maryland State Bar Association.
Monopoli designed the Women, Leadership & Equality Program to combine teaching, experiential learning and scholarship, engaging students in critical thinking about cutting-edge issues in gender and leadership in the legal profession.
The gift will allow the WLE Program to maintain and expand its fellows' placements at organizations like the House of Ruth and the Maryland and National Women’s Law Centers. It will also allow the program to enhance its curricular offerings to students over the next decade.
"The invaluable work of the Women Leadership & Equality Program is an important part of UM Carey Law’s commitment to the future of our profession," said Dean Phoebe Haddon. "Not only does it shine a spotlight on the gender inequalities in the legal profession, it acts as a catalyst to place women in leadership positions. We are honored and thankful to have the Marjorie Cook Foundation continue to support us in this effort."
"Marjorie Cook and Rose Zetzer mobilized Maryland women to fight for equality under the law. Both of them would be tremendously proud of the good work of the WLE Program and the terrific quality of the Rose Zetzer fellows," said Sandy Gohn ‘79, a Marjorie Cook Foundation trustee.
In addition to its innovative curriculum, over the past decade the program has generated significant scholarship in the field, sponsoring more than 14 symposia and publishing 35 symposia papers on topics ranging from women and corporate governance to the impact of Title IX on gender equality.
Monopoli is a nationally known expert in gender equality who has spoken at many law schools here and abroad. She has published widely in the field, including "Gender and Constitutional Design" in the Yale Law Journal, "Marriage, Property and [In]Equality" in the Yale Law Journal Online and "Women and the Gendered State" (with E. McDonagh) in Feminist Constitutionalism (Cambridge Univ. Press.) In 2013, she was honored by the University of Maryland Baltimore when she was selected as its Founders Week Teacher of the Year.