Ruth Bader Ginsburg: An Inspiration To Working Mothers

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is gone. Just like that, she is in the past tense. Ginsburg had an amazing and productive life, leaving us a rich legacy. She was a working mother, tenacious throughout her career. RBG inspired me to go to law school even as we had two young children at home. It was a risky move for me at a late age after a successful career in finance.

Some have pointed out Jewish teaching that those who die just before the Jewish New Year-as RBG did-are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed the most. That may be. We still need Ginsburg, and fortunately, we can look back to her words through her opinions.

1. Being Independent ” My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” Raised in a modest Jewish home in Brooklyn, Ginsburg was influenced mostly by an immigrant family. They valued education above all else.

2. True Equality Between The Sexes “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”

3. Gender Discrimination

Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her mark in gender equality, first as an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This happened well before she became the second woman Associate Justice on the Supreme Court in 1993. She represented both genders fighting for her belief that gender should not always be the basis for decisions. Three cases signaled Ginsburg’s prowess in gender discrimination.

4. Why Dissents Matter Ruth Bader Ginsberg is not only known for her opinions that she wrote in majority decisions as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court (e.g., United States vs. Virginia), but she advanced her legacy in her dissents. While dissents do not bear the court’s imminent power like majority opinions, they carry weight into the future. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

5. On Voting Rights And Racial Discrimination “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

6. Give To Others Who Are Less Fortunate “I tell law students…if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill like a plumber. But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself…something that makes a life a little better for people less fortunate than you.”

7. On Men On The Court In Safford Unified School District v Redding, a 2009 case, Savana Redding, an eighth-grader was strip-searched by school officials. They were tipped off by another student who told them she might have ibuprofen on her person in violation of school policy.

8. The Roe V Wade Decision “Abortion prohibition by the State, however, controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men.” Instead, Ginsburg believed that Struck vs Secretary of Defense, a case she represented as an attorney for the ACLU, was the better case.

9. Invest In Yourself “So often, in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.” Ginsburg couldn’t land a legal job after law school. Her gender impeded her from working as an attorney. She turned to teach others and became an attorney at the ACLU, advocating for those discriminated against.

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