5 of the greatest gifts Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave to women
All hail the Notorious RBG
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / September 21 2020
‘Icon’ is a word that gets thrown around pretty casually these days – we’ve all commented it nonchalantly on a pal’s post before, right? But in the case of the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s fitting in the truest sense.
The ultimate feminist icon, Bader Ginsburg dedicated her entire career to fighting for women’s rights, advocating heavily for gender equality before being appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 (as only the second woman to serve upon it, may we add). It was there that she continued her feminist fight right up until her death on September 18, 2020.
And though we have an extremely lengthy list of things to thank her for, a few stand out as the cream of a very creamy crop. Here are some of the most game changing things Bader Ginsburg did for women…
RBG gave us: the right for women to be pregnant/have kids and work
Considering she lost her job as a typist after becoming pregnant with her daughter, Bader Ginsburg felt very strongly about a woman’s right to continue working after having kids.
So strongly, in fact, that she took on several equal protection cases to fight for more equality within gender roles, even advocating for men to highlight the imbalance between the prescribed ‘roles’ through the rare occurrences of gender discrimination swinging the other way.
An example? The case of Stephen Wiesenfeld. After losing his wife during childbirth, Wiesenfeld petitioned to be able to stay home to care for his kid, an idea hardly supported by the Supreme Court back in 1975 – widows received special benefits due to being the ‘primary caregiver’ whereas widowers did not.
RBG took it upon herself to champion for the importance of releasing both men and women from the respective breadwinner or homemaker positions their genders had signed them up for. She won, and it changed the course of gender roles forever.
RBG gave us: the right to more financial equality
While her fight for equal pay continues even now (as Twitter spread the word, now that we are Ruth-less, we must be ruthless), Bader Ginsburg obviously made enormous strides in the financial equality arena throughout her life.
Some of the standouts? A woman’s right to a pension equal to male counterparts, the ability to open a bank account without a male co-signer and the chance to obtain a credit card without your husband’s permission. Sounds barbaric, right? She thought the same, so she fought for our rights to take control of our own financial futures.
RBG gave us: the right to sign a mortgage without a man
Speaking of needing a man to co-sign something, before Ginsburg got involved it wasn’t even possible for women to sign their own mortgages.
Remember that scene in Sex and the City with Miranda’s “just me” moment during the signing of her lease? None of that (or our own single living situations) would have been possible without RBG. Can you imagine if you had to have a partner (or your father’s permission) to have a place to live? Madness.
RBG gave us: the right to have a job without being discriminated based on gender
After being knocked back for a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter because he wasn't “ready” to hire a woman, the fire was certainly lit beneath Bader Ginsburg in the workplace discrimination department. The fact that these styles of sexist rejections are not only deemed unacceptable but actually illegal nowadays is largely as a result of her tireless work following this setback.
After founding the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project (for which she also served as lawyer and general counsel), she green lit close to 300 gender discrimination cases, personally arguing six (and winning five) before the then all-male Supreme Court.
RBG gave us: mottos to live the rest of our lives by
Her quotes were always pure gold (and we’re sure you’ve seen the majority of them filling your feed these last few days), but for us, one in particular rings true: “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her that meant be your own person, be independent.”
Wise words from an infinitely wise woman. And while we mourn her loss, her wins are present in the ways in which we live our lives each and every day… talk about a lasting legacy.
Main image credit: Getty Images