International Day of the Girl Child: My Tribute to the Notorious RBG

International Day of the Girl Child is one of our lesser-known, gender-based international days. We have International Women’s day on March 8th, International Men’s Day on November 19th and International Non-Binary People’s Day on July 11th. So what does the International Day of the Girl Child really mean?

 

In short, this day is a day to acknowledge the hardships faced globally by young women, purely by the circumstances of their birth. Some of these things include gender discrimination, violence and cultural practices that hold women back from what they are truly capable of.

 

In honor of National Day of the Girl Child, I thought I would mention some rights we only have here in the United States because of the tireless work of one Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

For context, here are a few cases she’s supported.

 

1. Supported a Woman’s Right to Privacy– RBG considered the topic of abortion as something that simply wasn’t another person’s business. Now, more than ever, that right is in danger. But RBG wasn’t just pro-abortion. In 1970, a young combat nurse in Vietnam became pregnant. The military gave her two choices: be discharged or get an abortion. Captain Stuck chose to continue her pregnancy and was sent multiple discharge notices. RBG, then a lawyer, prepared to take this case to the Supreme Court, then the Air Force miraculously changed its policy to allow Captain Struck to keep her position. Ruth Bader Ginsburg realized that if the government allowed abortions to take place, they could also insist upon them. RBG felt that it was a woman’s choice, either way, not an employer’s or a husband’s.

 

2. Dissented in the ruling of Ledbetter v. Goodyear– The Court reached a ruling that Lily Ledbetter (suing Goodyear for pay discrimination) was not to be granted compensation as the statute of limitations for the suit had expired. Ginsburg argued that pay discrimination was so difficult to spot right away, and that the statute of limitations should be raised. In 2008, the Lily Ledbetter Pay Act fixed this gap in the statute of limitations for pay discrimination cases.

 

3. Helped decriminalize homosexuality in Texas in 2003– For context, I, a bisexual adult woman, would have been around 3 years old. She was also the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a same-sex marriage in 2013 when I would have been 13. Finally, she joined the majority to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in 2015. I was 15 in school when we heard about it and came out to my parents and friends about a year later.

 

Now, what does this mean?

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has supported a woman’s choice to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has supported the reformation of pay discrimination lawsuits.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has supported the freedom to marry your same-sex partner and has granted a protected status to the LGBTQ+ community.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has, time and time again, stood up for women’s rights and gender equality.

 

Did she always make the best choice? No. 

 

Her ruling in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York created a dangerous precedent in refusing the return of ancestral lands to Indigenous peoples. But in her cases involving land disputes, she has dissented against her own precedent in favor of tribes and has stated that this case has been her biggest regret in her 27 years in the Supreme Court. 

 

As a social studies major looking into a possible law career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy will always be one of acceptance, righteousness and strength. She has paved the way for women to live their lives and to make their own choices. She has paved the way for people like me to marry whoever I may marry and to retain my rights in marriage.

 

But the most important contribution she has made is in inspiring generations of young women to fight for what they believe in.

 

So on this International Day of the Girl Child, I’d like to ask you to think of her.

 

May her memory be for a blessing.