The Notorious RBG

For 25 years a powerful womxn has served in the United States Supreme Court, holding her head high defying any man who told her she was not capable. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, famously also known as RBG, is one of the original fighters of gender equality who went up against the Supreme Court six times before joining them in 1993. Today we know her as the oldest justice in the Supreme Court and the Notorious RBG with an intense work-out that helps her stay in shape.  Though before she became the RBG we know today, it is important to take a step back, and get to know about her beginning.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, where she was able to learn about the value of having a good education and defending the ordinary individual. RBG’s mother played a powerful influence in her life, and although she had no college education herself, she pushed her daughter Ruth and sons to get an education.

“My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Following her mother’s advice even after her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended Cornell University, finishing first in her class, and in that same year of 1954, married her husband Martin D. Ginsburg. Ruth confessed that he was “the only young man [she] dated who cared that [she] had a brain.”.

In 1954 she attended Harvard and from the get-go faced gender inequality as she was one of the only eight females in her class of 500. Around the same time, her husband suffered from cancer, and while she attended law school, she still took the time to care for both him and her daughter, while succeeding academically. After her husband’s recovery, RBG transferred to Colombia’s law school when her husband received a job offer in New York.

At Colombia, while balancing her marriage, being a mother, and being a student, she graduated first in her class, demonstrating that a womxn is capable of anything she sets her mind to, despite society attacking her and stating that she could not do everything.

Ignoring her astonishing achievements in school, RBG struggled to get employment after graduating, facing gender discrimination at every turn. In time, she eventually became a professor at Columbia from 1972-80 and became the university’s first tenured female professor.

During the same period, Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, to which she faced the Supreme Court six times fighting for gender equality.

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980, and a little over a decade later in 1993, she was selected to fill in a vacated seat in the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. Due to her success of being a social advocate and strong will, she was effortlessly confirmed by the Senate with only three opposing.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now the oldest Supreme Court Justice at the age of 85 and has no plans to retire any time soon. It is essential for the public and the newer younger generations to not only appreciate her accomplishments now, but also her past successes as she paved the way for many more like her. Which is why in the past year alone, two films were created, RBG and On the Basis of Sex, depicting her journey to the icon she is today.  Her legacy is important but so is her past, and like her mother once told her, womxn can learn to be strong and independent, while being a lady at the same time.

“Men and women are persons of equal dignity, and they should count equally before the law.”  -Ruth Bader Ginsburg.