10 of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Contributions and Her Legacy

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933. At a young age, Ginsburg’s mother helped cultivate Ginsburg‘s love for learning and education. Later on, Ginsberg went to Cornell University and graduated at the top of her class in the College of arts and sciences. Afterward, she married her husband Martin and focused on her family for some time.

Later on, Ginsburg attended Harvard law until her husband accepted a job at a New York firm and transferred to Columbia Law to stay close to her family. She graduated first in her class at Columbia Law school. Although her academic record was exceptional, she still faced gender discrimination in the workforce and at the beginning of her law career.

Ginsburg’s worked at several different law firms but continuously received significantly lower pay than her male counterparts. Ginsburg was the first female professor ever to receive tenure at Columbia University and lead the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 1993 Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court, and there she continually advocated for gender equality and an end to discrimination against any person.

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

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Allowed Women to Attend State-funded Schools

In 1996 during the United States v. Virginia case, RBG expressed her opinion that any institution funded by tax dollars cannot discriminate or bar women from attending school based on gender. “There is no reason to believe that the admission of women capable of all the activities required of (Virginia Military Institute) cadets would destroy the institute rather than enhance its capacity to serve the ‘more perfect union’” (Ginsburg).

Gave Women the Ability to Hold a Bank Account and Apply for a Mortgage Without a Male Co-signer

In 1974 the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed that allowed women to apply for loans, mortgages, and open bank accounts without a male co-signer or supervisor. RBG reportedly paved the way for this significant milestone.

Provided Significant Strides for Equal Pay

In 2007 the Supreme Court case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. ruling was against Ledbetter. However, Ginsberg voiced her opposition against the Supreme Court’s ruling and led the movement that resulted in the public and Congress strengthening and changing equal pay protections.

Solidified Women’s Right to Choose

Ginsburg was a crucial vote and advocate for maintaining the ruling on Roe v. Wade in the current day’s court. Although Ginsburg’s had some hesitation about how the original case was decided, she believed that women deserve the right to choose whether or not to receive an abortion.

Protected Pregnant Women in the Workplace

When Ginsberg was teaching law school, she had to conceal her pregnancy to maintain her job and be allowed to work. In the 70s, Ginsburg’s argued against preventing women from participating in the military when they were pregnant, especially in the case, Struck v. Secretary of Defense. Ginsburg tried to defy and fight against gender stereotypes that prevented women from contributing to the workforce at the same rate as men.

Gave Women the Ability to Participate in Jury Duty

In Duren v. Missouri, it was initially optional for a woman to participate in jury duty because of the role as the center of the home. Many individuals thought it would be a burden upon women. Ginsberg argued that women should be a participant in all decisions and their status within the family and life further exemplifies why their perspective and opinion is necessary.

Provided Same-sex Marriage

Obergefell v. Hodges was the monumental case that provided same-sex marriage to all individuals and allowed it to be recognized in all 50 states. The ruling vote was 5 to 4, with Ginsburg taking a prominent role in its success. Ginsburg perceived the matter not only as an issue for the LGBTQ+ community but gender equality as well.

Gave Men the Same Caregiving Rights as Women

In 1968, RBG represented a single man, Charles Moritz, who attempted to claim a tax deduction for caring for his mother. Because he was an unmarried man, the IRS denied his request. After appealing, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Moving forward, they have to provide individuals deductions for caregiving regardless of gender or marital status.

Fought to Eliminate Workplace Discrimination Based on Gender 

Many businesses would discriminate against women because of pregnancy or their desire to be pregnant in the future. Sadly there was a period in the United States that women were required to sterilize themselves to keep their jobs. She advocated for sterilization regulations and consent requirements, saying, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity” (Ginsburg).

Equalized Social Security Rights

In the 1970s, Ginsburg won two cases representing men who Social Security prevented from obtaining survivor benefits because they were men.

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