By Marcy Driehaus
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, similar to another one of our favorite Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, is known for having a little fight in her. Between vigorously advocating for women’s rights by projecting a demand for equality through her work, along with her overall passion, Ginsburg isn’t one to stand idly and watch the world go by. Rather, this Supreme Court Justice has been known to shake things up and take things into her own hands, thus earning her a spot as our Woman of the Week.
Ginsburg’s journey began on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. Though her upbringing was by no means lavish, that didn’t prevent her mother, Celia Bader, from engraining important values into her daughter’s mind. Though she herself didn’t receive an education or have a career, Bader was sure to instill the importance of education into her daughter and made it a top priority for her to succeed. With the steady support from her mother, Ginsburg had the motivation she needed to go out and show the world what she could do.
After working hard and achieving academic excellence throughout her high school years, Ginsburg went on to finish first in her class and receive a BA in government from Cornell University in 1954. From there, she enrolled in Harvard Law School and became one of nine women out of the 500 students in her class. In light of her battle against discrimination and sexism that was prevalent in her environment at Harvard, Ginsburg overcame these hardships and never allowed these criticisms to cause her to falter. She rose above the restrictions placed upon her and ended up graduating first in her class in 1959.
Ginsburg taught at both Rutgers University Law School and Columbia for a total of about 17 years before being appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. She served in that position until she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. During her time serving as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg has made it a point to focus on issues regarding gender equality and has tirelessly fought against injustice. Not only did she co-found the first law journal in the United States devoted to gender equality issues (The Women’s Rights Law Reporter), she is also responsible for creating the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. Her strides towards equality were not even deterred by the colon cancer or pancreatic cancer that she faced and conquered. Ginsburg has proved herself to be unstoppable.
When asked why he thought Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an apt choice for Woman of the Week, political activist Andrew Childers said, “Woman of the week? Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a good choice for woman of the decade. Justice Ginsburg has been a pioneer for women in the legal profession. After over two decades on the nation’s highest court, she continues to fight tirelessly for women’s rights, civil rights, and equality. Her intellect, her passion, and her influence are truly unmatched. She is an icon, not only for women, but for all of us who believe in ensuring our nation lives up to its founding principles of justice and equality for all.” Childers, along with many other men and women, look to Ginsburg and her accomplishments as a source of hope and inspiration in their own lives. At 81 years old, Ginsburg is still serving as both a Supreme Court Justice and a role model to many.