Ruth Bader Ginsberg: A Changemaker for Women

A powerful advocate for women who changed the game for all of us

On September 18, 2020, we lost one of the most fearless female leaders this generation has seen. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, better known as RBG, was one of only four women ever to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. She came from a generation of women that were not given the same rights as men. Over her career, RBG made it her mission to fight for women.

Over the course of decades of public service, RBG co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), fought to guarantee financial freedoms for women, and worked tirelessly every day to give women equal rights to men.

RGB was a powerful advocate for women and she changed the game for all of us. 

RGB was one of only nine women at Harvard Law School in 1956. After receiving her law degree, she struggled to find a position because of her gender. It was not acceptable for a woman to be an attorney at that time—it was considered a man’s job!

So began her crusade to ensure that women were given the same rights and opportunities as our male counterparts. My favorite quote of hers is:

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” 

Here’s four things you benefit from because of RBG.

1. Women couldn’t open a bank account or get a credit card without a male co-signer before RGB.

Can you imagine? In 1974, she led the way for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which gave women this financial liberty.

2. She made great strides towards equal pay for women. 

We are still working toward equal pay for women—compared to men of equal or similar jobs—but RBG worked to strengthen equal pay protections. In 2020, women make only $0.81 for every dollar a man makes. RBG famously argued the Supreme Court’s decision on pay discrimation in the case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

3. She pushed to protect pregnant women in the workplace.

It was standard 50 years ago for women to be fired, or let go, from their jobs when they became pregnant. My 96 year-old grandmother was just telling me recently that one of her friends who worked at General Electric hid her pregnancy because she couldn’t afford to lose her job. Even RBG hid her own pregnancy when she was teaching at law school because she worried they wouldn’t let her continue to teach. Today, employment discrimination based on pregnancy is illegal.

4. She was a key player and vote in allowing same-sex marriages. 

RBG expanded the concept of gender discrimation and worked to lay the educational foundation for discrimation protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. She was also the deciding vote in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case, which gave the LGBTQ community the right to same sex marriages in all 50 states.

RBG has had a lasting influence on women by modeling for us what it looks like to be confident, bold, brave, hard-working, and a female leader. She showed the power of going against the grain!

Here’s a list from Amy Ahlers of inspired actions to take in RBG’s honor:

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