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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: heroine for justice, warrior for equality and icon

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG as she is known more affectionately, was a woman of great character, morals and faith. She served as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for 27 years, between 1993 and 2020, and was a champion for women's rights until her death on September 18th.

I first came across RBG on YouTube. Surprisingly, it was her exercise routine with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, which caught my eye. I was in awe of her ability to do a full press-up: something which took me a fair few months to accomplish. The gym is just one of the arenas in which she exceled.

RBG attended Columbia Law School, a prestigious university and phenomenal achievement in its own right. However, as RBG does best, she managed to make this achievement even more incredible by tying first in her class. Despite her obvious intelligence, she became the target of sexism. One professor offered to give RBG the answers to a test in exchange for sex. RBG was shocked by what she heard and said: “How dare you.” Her dedication to Law and proving that women are just as good as men intensified over the course of her life.

Whilst a law professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963, she fought for equal rights for women. The Equal Pay Act was passed that same year. In 1969, she created the first law journal, specifically for women’s rights. The Women’s Rights Law Reporter still exists and sparked further publications of its kind.

RBG was clearly a trailblazer in every domain she was involved in. Aside from her awe-inspiring accolades, she was also a mother and proud member of the Jewish community. She said: “[being Jewish] raised one eyebrow; [being a woman], two; [being a mother] made me indubitably inadmissible.” These attributes made her even more determined to show that being a woman and being a minority are not obstacles or faults, but weapons for creating change. She will always hold the crown for being the first female Jewish justice. So far, she is the only ever female Jewish justice.

It is clear to see why RBG inspires so many. To fully examine how inspiring a person is requires looking at what their loved ones have to say about them. RBG’s daughter has so much love for her mother; a mother who inspired her to pursue law at — you guessed it — Columbia Law School. When Jane was four, she shouted: “That’s my Mommy!” when RBG got her diploma. What a mommy to have. RBG is equally proud of her daughter, saying: “An award from one’s child, as all parents here know, is something truly to cherish” when Jane presented her with an Award at Harvard.

RBG’s life deserves more than an article. Her story has been documented in several books, but yet this is still not enough. There are really not enough words to describe this heroine, this icon, this role model for young and old, females and males. It is an honour to live on the same planet as such a remarkable figure. Her successor has a lot to live up to, but even when she is replaced, she will not be forgotten. We all need to try and emulate RBG. We need to continue to fight for equality in all forms: racial, religious, sexual and gender. Most importantly, we need to have faith in our abilities. RBG was constantly thwarted by people who judged or underestimated her. Her strength and self-belief allowed her to prove her haters wrong with the utmost class and dignity: both of which are befitting of the powerhouse that is RBG.

She was a mother, wife, teacher, lawyer, Supreme Justice and popular culture icon. She was RBG.

AUTHOR: Danielle Desouza

I am a 22 year old Politics and Communication Masters student at LSE, makeshift musician and aspiring political broadcaster. I am a staunch supporter of both gender and racial equality, being female and Indian. I want to edge closer to this goal daily by bringing to light injustices, through all forms of journalism.


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