Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn New York. Like countless other girls, she was a fun-loving student and cheerleader throughout high school. However, when her mother died of cancer shortly before Ginsburg’s graduation from high school, it instilled a passion in her to create a world her mother could have only dreamed about. Since then, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has attended college at Cornell University and then went on to Harvard Law School where she met her husband and had a daughter. Ginsburg was a Crusader for women’s rights and became the first leading women’s rights lawyer of her day, moving up to a supreme court justice. She changed American history in countless ways, leaving a legacy for the next generation.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a profound impact on American history. After graduating from law school, Ginsburg began practicing law and, in the beginning, her clients were often men. While this may not paint her as the stereotypical feminist, the young lawyer was in fact being strategic. She wanted to make it clear that there should be no such thing as men and women’s work. As Ginsburg once said, “it’s not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation”. Through successful cases such as that of Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, she was able to prove that not only could a woman do a man’s job, but a man could also do a women’s job. Today, there is an increasing amount of “stay-at-home” dads, and gender roles are steadily diminishing. In addition, Ginsburg worked and studied hard to fight for equality. This includes the time in the early 1960s when she went to Sweden to take part in a comparative feminist study. It was opportunities like this that allowed Ginsburg to become a law professor and leader of women’s rights projects. To continue her career, in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. While she was able to push equality as a lawyer, by taking up the position of Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg would change the country. Her ruling in numerous cases such as United States v. Virginia and Reed v. Reed “upended a century of American jurisprudence and the entirety of political thought going back to the beginning of the Republic.” She truly pushed the boundaries and gave men and women alike, a more equal place in this world because “real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
In addition to American history, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also continue to influence my generation and many more to come. I am fifteen years old and born in 2004. This means, that the upcoming age group did not grow up watching the direct work of RBG. However, this doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else cannot learn from the remarkable things she has done. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has taught me lessons that I will hold for my life. One of these, is to always demand equality. Regardless of someone’s skin color, gender, or social class, everyone should be treated fairly. She has shown me that there is nothing a man can do that I cannot, and I should always fight for that. She also has shown me what it means to be level-headed, fair, and inquisitive. Today, it is very easy to get caught up with hot-headed politics, but RBG always claimed that she was neither liberal nor conservative. Instead, she enjoyed debates and disagreements over petty scathing opinions. This has enabled me to see that it is important to hold my own opinions, but also to be able to listen to others. Lastly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has inspired me to be strong and never give up. During Ginsburg’s final two decades in court, she suffered battles with cancer, surgery, and radiation. Yet, she never failed to show up in court, and motivate with her passion. Even when she was asked about retirement, she claimed she had no plans on retiring until she could no longer “do the job full-steam.” Like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I hope that I will always have the passion to fight for what’s right, the patience to listen to others, and the persistence to never give up.
All in all, Rut Bader Ginsburg was a little lady who made a huge impact on America. She will always hold a special place in the heart of all Americans as the Notorious RBG pop-culture icon. Through her tireless work, the next generation, including myself and my peers can enjoy a more unprejudiced life. We must remember to carry on her legacy, as she urged all of us to “Fight for things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you”.
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg
RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg March 15, 1933- September 18, 2020
Featured image from news.harvard.edu