“But we hired a woman last year”, “Our wives would get jealous”, “You might get busy with bake sale”, “Women are too emotional to be lawyers”, “When will you have your next baby?”, these were the excuses Ruth heard from the law firms that didn’t hire her despite graduating first in her class.
Ruth had three factors that disadvantaged her against most lawyers, she a woman, she’s Jewish, and she’s a mother.
Though Ruth collected all these rejections, it didn’t mean that she took “No” for an answer for the rest of her life.
And that is how she became the most notorious woman ever to walk on this planet.
In 1959, RBG graduated from Colombia University School of Law at the top of her class.
Nevertheless, law firms for several decades were unwelcoming towards female attorneys. But that did not mean the end of her career as she was hired by Rutgers University, where she advocated for women’s rights.
Though she pioneered against gender discrimination, the university paid Ruth lesser than her male counterparts. Recognizing the unfair treatment, Ruth and her female colleagues sued the university for equal pay and eventually won the case.
The first time Ruth gave an oral argument in a courtroom was in the supreme court, for the Frontiero v. Richardson case in 1973. Within the next three years, she argued five other gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court and won four of them.
Her’s strategy to eliminate gender discrimination from the constitution was to occasionally represent male plaintiffs, to demonstrate how Patriarchy affects both men and women.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated RBG as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court becoming the second woman to serve in the SCOTUS.
It was speculated that President Clinton’s nomination was only to increase diversity in the Supreme Court, however, his decision paved the way a step closer to achieving gender equality.
Justice Ginsburg was sometimes asked when there would be enough women in the SCOTUS, to which the notorious replied “When there are nine. But there had been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”
In 2020, at the age of 87, Ruth died from complications of pancreatic cancer. Her legacy, her rebellious fight against inequality, and the way she used her power to empower women in the US not just remain in memories but has also inspired women to say “No”.
However, it is tragic to see the doors opened by her being shut by internalized misogyny.