The world, as crazy and unpredictable as it may seem right now, lost another hero Sept. 18. We know her as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but she was so much more than that before her appointment by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Ginsberg was a strong advocate for gender equality, women’s rights, workers’ rights and the separation of church and state, not just as a justice but throughout her law career.
In many ways, Ginsberg was the first. She wasn’t the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, but she was the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, as she excelled academically during her time at Cornell University, Harvard University and Columbia University. She was one of eight women in her class of a predominantly and overwhelmingly male profession in the late 1950s. Because of this, she fought her entire life for gender equality, an issue that she strived to change as she moved up the ranks of our country’s justice system. She was the first to take a strong stand against the system that could have failed her had she not worked hard to be where she was, sitting on a podium in one of the highest positions of our government.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when women weren’t viewed as equals in careers dominated by men. Girls and women need strong role models to achieve their dreams. Millions of young girls will dream of becoming doctors, scientists and maybe even Supreme Court justices because of women like Ginsberg who stood up for, and even won, the fights they believed in.
It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump will elect another woman to the Supreme Court, or even whether a decision will be made before or after this year’s general election. Without another female presence on the Supreme Court, one of the most crucial professions to our justice system will once again be a male majority that may not be sympathetic or understanding to future court cases that put women’s rights before a man’s. Ginsberg left our country’s justice system better than she found it, and there’s no law that says women can’t be anything they set their mind to. One of her most famous quotes, which is now being shared across social media, reads:
“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”