The Game Changer – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Swapna Narayanan

This year, 2020, seems to be still hyper active, bringing in its fray not only a pandemic and its associated woes, it also seems to be snatching away from us some people whom we love. People whom we adore, and admire. People who think for us, support us and make life easy for us.

On September 18th, we lost one such woman who fought and made life easy for many a women in the US – Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). For those of you who do not know about her, she was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of United States. Supreme Court in US comprises of nine positions – one Chief Justice, and eight Associated Justices.

Not a mean feat by any standards. More so, when you look back at the roots where she began.

A Jewish heritage, a simple childhood in Brooklyn, and a mother who was determined to see her educated (enough to become a History school teacher) prompted young Ruth to do well in her studies and finish as a high ranker graduate.

Post her graduation, she got married, took up a job, and had her first child – a daughter.

She pursued her Law degree from the Harvard Law School after becoming a mother, being one of the 9 women in her class with 500 men. The constant questioning on her choice of profession (apparently better suited for a man) by her professors only pushed her to keep at it. She eventually moved to the Columbia Law School and topped her class as a first ranker.

All this in the late 50’s, balancing both motherhood and her education – a feat very few could even dare. Yet, she did it.

But, the best was yet to come. And not without its own set of trials and tribulations.

After getting her application rejected for the position of a clerk in the Supreme Court owing to her gender, she chose to work for the academia. After 20 years in the academia and pioneering various women’s rights initiatives and movements, she got nominated for the position of a Judge in the District of Columbia Circuit, and eventually got elevated to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice.

And all through her career, RBG stood out as a ‘true friend’ to women. In her own words:

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.

She wrote many a briefs, fought many a cases, filed many an amicus (a friend of the court) briefs to ensure that women get a fair share. Known for her immensely articulate, yet clearly defiant stance, RBG fought for women in the US for their:

  • Right to birth control and abortion
  • Right to have equal pay (and pension benefits) as men
  • Right to get a loan, credit card or mortgage without a male co-signer
  • Right to buy, sell, or rent property without a male co-signer

And much more…

In the more recent years, she has actively supported the #metoo movement and has been appreciative of women opening up, saying ‘It is about time.

On her death, she lay in repose for two days in the Supreme Court, and then was laid to rest in state at the Capitol, the first woman and the first Jew to get that distinction.

A game changer there too!


*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*

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