Ribs for Ruth: What Strong Women Everywhere Can Learn From RBG

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been making headlines recently, after a fall in her office that caused her to fracture three of her ribs. Since then, there has been an outpouring of love and support on social media for Justice Ginsburg, with many offering to give her their own ribs to insure that she stays with us for as long as possible. Late night host, Jimmy Kimmel, even went so far as to introduce the “Ruth Bader Gins-bubble,” a giant plastic bubble encasing a Ginsburg actor, saying that 85-year-old Ginsburg needed to be “protected at all costs.”

Justice Ginsburg has served an impressive 25 years on the Supreme Court, having been appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993. But, arguably what makes Ginsburg so impressive is her passion for justice and equality for all. Co-author of the book Notorious RBG, Irin Carmon, explains saying, “I think people of all ages are excited to see a woman in public life who has shown that, even at the age of 85, she can be unflinching in her commitment to equality and justice… We don't have enough figures like her." Ginsburg epitomizes what a strong woman looks like and her journey from lawyer to Supreme Court justice is one that we can all learn from.  

RBG was born in 1933 to a family of Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York. She got her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University in 1954 and married her husband, Marty Ginsburg, soon after. According to a BBC article about her life, while Ginsburg was pregnant with her first child, she was demoted at her job in the social security office, as it was still legal to discriminate against pregnant women during that time. RBG then went on to become one of nine women accepted into Harvard Law School in 1956 and where according to the BBC, “the dean famously compelled his female students to tell him how they could justify taking the spot of a man in his school.” Ginsburg later transferred to Columbia Law and became the first woman to work at both school’s law reviews.

Ginsburg was the top of her class and became a professor at Rutgers University in 1963. She taught some of the first women and law classes and co-founded the Women’s Right Project at the ACLU. This then began Ginsburg’s era for fighting gender discrimination cases and six of these cases brought her before the Supreme Court. Ginsburg became known as a “fiery dissenter” after her Supreme Court case, United States v. Virginia. This case struck down the men-only admission policy at the Virginia Military Institute and according to Paul Schiff Berman, law professor at George Washington University and one of Ginsburg's law clerks in the 90s, "It really was the last step in her own trajectory as a lawyer in trying to get the Supreme Court to recognize that gender classifications are a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment."

Ginsburg has stated that she refuses to retire and, “As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here.” With everything that Ginsburg has been through, and her constant battle for gender equality, it is no surprise that she is so well loved by many. But, throughout everything she has been through, Ginsburg has never stopped fighting for what she believed to be right. She fully intends to keep the US government accountable and is truly an exemplary strong woman.