Top 5 Things Ruth Bader Ginsburg Did for Women (And Others)

Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash

Someone had to make being a boss babe cool.

In the days since her passing on September 18th, the world has been mourning and remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her many accomplishments in giving a voice to the voiceless and fighting for women’s rights. Dubbed the ‘Notorious RBG’ by her millennial fanbase, she became a pop culture icon of Democratic feminism. (Ask your friend who’s into politics…she probably has a t-shirt with RBG’s face plastered on the front.) 

Since becoming the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court in 1993, Ginsburg fought for both women and men in countless ways – from education to workplace discrimination, and LGBTQ+ rights. However, her work for humanity stretches far beyond her years on the Supreme Court and will continue to affect so many lives even after her death. 

Here, we’ve rounded up the top five ways RBG has likely to have made an impact on your life or someone you may know.

Before Ginsburg, women weren’t allowed to handle money without a man.

If you’re a woman and you have your own credit card, you can thank Ruth. She paved the way for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. She paved the way for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that was passed in 1974, which allowed women to do things that nowadays, we don’t even give a second thought to, like apply for credit cards and mortgages or even start their own business without a male co-signer.  This may seem crazy to us today, but it was pretty normal 50 years ago. Without Ginsburg’s legal work in the 1970s, women would not have been able to access some of the essential tools of financial independence. Now every time you swipe that card for your morning latte, you can thank RBG!

Ginsburg pushed to protect expecting mothers in the workplace.

Fifty years ago, it was completely normal for women to be fired from their jobs if they were expecting a little one. In fact, Ginsburg herself had to hide her pregnancy when she was a law professor to keep her job. Crazy, right? RBG kick-started change when she took on a reproductive rights case in 1972, where she argued that excluding a pregnant woman from the Air Force was considered sex discrimination. Through this case, she advocated for all women in the workforce and eventually helped pass the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. Under this act, it deemed it unlawful to treat women differently in the workplace just because they were pregnant. So here’s to all the working moms – we see you!

Before Ginsburg’s work, colleges could deny you access simply because you were a woman.

When she attended Harvard Law School in her 20s, Ginsburg was one of the only eight women in her class… of more than 500. These women were systematically excluded from the college experience,  excluded from the library, ignored in the classroom, and mistreated by their male classmates and professors. Ginsburg and the other women were even asked by the dean how they could justify taking a spot at the school away from a man. However, RBG continued to kick butt at the top of her classes at Harvard and Columbia and proved to those elite schools that a woman should be valued in an academic environment.

She used these challenges as motivation to fight for increased female admissions and support in colleges; most colleges didn’t even admit women in the 50s! That’s why in the 1996 United States v. Virginia case, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion that ruled it unconstitutional for state schools to block women from being admitted solely based on their gender. So, if you got acceptance letters from 10 different schools and was super stressed about picking which one to go to, you can thank RBG for those amazing opportunities!

She was key in granting same-sex marriages and ending gender discrimination.

Ginsburg played a critical role in allowing queer women and the rest of the LBGTQ+ community the right to same-sex marriages in all 50 states in 2015. (Finally!) In fact, in every Supreme Court case that directly touched on queer issues, Ginsburg joined the majority in ruling in favor of equality. Ginsburg was also the first Supreme Court justice to conduct same-sex marriages. As to be expected, news of her loss hit the LGBTQ+ community and other leaders particularly hard.

She made being an independent boss babe cool.

It’s no wonder, so many little girls run around in Super Woman costumes for Halloween. Ruth Bader Ginsburg left a lasting influence on women and girls in how they see what the world can offer them, and more importantly, how the world sees and values them. Her impact on empowerment didn’t stop with her generation or the next – she’s continued to inspire young women as a pop culture heroine icon in movies, books, and memes everywhere. Her pioneering work for women’s rights will continue to live on along with her wit, sense of humor, work ethic, and surprisingly intense workout routine (seriously, just Youtube it). 

When asked how she would like to be remembered, she said in quintessential RBG fashion, “(As) someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

Thanks for reading, & don’t forget to vote!

Angela Romeo



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