As the second ever female Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg emerges as an unwavering advocate of gender equality and women’s rights. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, in the year 1933 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 under President Bill Clinton. She’s famously known as “Notorious RBG” due to her being dubbed “radically progressive” in comparison to her constituents, despite others calling her a moderate. She grew up in a loving family and was encouraged to pursue her education, a desire which she followed intently. Her biggest academic motivator and her inspiration to fight for gender equality— her mother— passed away the day before her high school graduation where she was granted the honor of being top of her class. After high school, she attended Cornell university and once again, graduated as valedictorian. After Cornell, she gave birth to her first child with her husband Martin Ginsburg, whom she met at Cornell. While her husband was in the military, she took a break from her education to support her child. Later, she attended Harvard Law School and was one female student of 8 amongst over 500 male students. During her time at Harvard, she faced gender discrimination daily, she had to care for her child, and her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Despite all this, she continued to uphold her academic standing and was successful in her endeavours. She then transferred to Columbia Law to study closer to her husband’s work, and graduated at the top of the class in 1959.
Throughout her job search, Bader Ginsburg was repeatedly denied judicial positions. Apparently, she was turned down specifically because one judge wished to continue swearing, as a law existed where men could not swear in a woman’s presence. She finally became a professor at Rutgers, where she became pregnant again and was advised to hide this, so she would not be fired. In addition, she discovered that her male counterparts were being paid much more than she was.
During her time directing the Women’s Rights Project of American Civil Liberties Union in the 70s, she aimed to tackle small cases in the eyes of the law to “make a dent” in already existing sexist policies. She won 6 cases, one in which she argued for the equality of widows and widowers, as widows held more benefits, displaying her regard for gender equality as a whole.
Finally, in 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court and has since fought for the rights of the marginalised, specialising in women’s rights. To list a few, Bader Ginsburg supported the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2015, did her part to destroy legislation that supports vague “noncitizens to be expelled” this year, and fights for women’s rights to choose how they manage their bodies. She has taken part in so many more historic cases dealing with the mentally ill, privacy rights, etc. and truly will be remembered for years to come.