Why so sad? The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020, was a sad day but was heralded by so many shoutouts and thanks to the great woman. Why were so many people moved by her death? Because Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women and women’s rights. She was the Supreme Court Justice of the United States, a lawyer, a women’s rights advocate, and a formidable woman.

During her rise to the top, she was constantly turned down and rejected due to her gender. When she was one of only nine female students at Harvard Law School in 1956 it’s reported that the Dean asked her and her fellow female students, ‘How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?’ Despite this sexism, Ginsberg never let this deter her from her life goals, and even set about changing the laws to open pathways for other women. Her accomplishments included:

  • Founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter; the first law journal in the U.S.A focused on women’s rights
  • Co-wrote the first law school casebook on sex discrimination
  • Co-founded the Women’s Rights Projects at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
  • Her arguments in Reed vs Reed resulted in equal protection under the law for women
  • For thirteen years she served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • In 1993 she became the second female justice on the Supreme Court and served for over 27 years!
  • In her position on the Supreme Court she continued to advance women’s rights
  • Advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment to be included in the U.S. Constitution

What has this meant for women? She opened up opportunities for women. Women that had been restricted from attending universities are now, by law, allowed admission. It’s now easier for women to win pay discrimination claims if a women is being paid less based on gender. She advocated for abortion rights stating that ‘the basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman,’ so that women have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies. Not only did her efforts change the laws of the U.S.A but she had long-reaching influence across the globe and women today have a lot to thank her for. She is an inspiration; her example shows you should hold onto your beliefs and strive for your goals even in the face of adversity.