The loss of pioneering gender equality advocate Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be felt by billions of people around the world. She was small in stature yet seemed to possess limitless energy and ferocity. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was fondly referred to as “The Notorious RBG” by those who revered her and knew her as an iconoclast and a legend because she fought boldly for gender rights and women’s equality in a time when no one else dared.
Less than fifty days before a contentious presidential election, her death feels even more surreal. On her death bed, the 87 year-old confided to her granddaughter her final wish that her seat as Justice in the highest court of the United States would remain vacant until a new president was elected.
Her ongoing fight for equality set a new precedent for reform in the United States and left a lasting mark on the world. The Brooklyn native was no stranger to discrimination based on her gender. She was a minority at Harvard Law School, being one of only nine women in a class of about 500 men. Once, in her early years, while working for the Social Security Administration, she lost her job on account of being pregnant. In another example of sexism, one of her Harvard Law professors even recommended her for a clerkship at the Supreme Court, but the male Justice she’d be clerking under said that he wasn’t ready to have a woman working for him.
Ginsburg's relentless efforts in fighting against gender discrimination while working with the ACLU in the 1970’s set a new precedent in the work towards gender equality for women and turned the tides of "herstory". Ginsburg served as director of the Women’s Rights Project and won 5 out of 6 cases in front of the Supreme Court. Ginsburg was first nominated to the Court as Associate Justice by Clinton in 1993.
As scholar and advocate, wife and mother, judge and Justice, RBG was devoted to all and never stopped working and fighting for equal rights.
Ginsburg’s efforts have deeply impacted the nation as she worked tirelessly to change discriminatory laws and practices. Because of her work on the case Reed v. Reed in 1971, the Supreme Court included women in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Her death leaves a giant void, but her legacy will live on forever, literally embedded in our laws, as she lives on in our hearts.
In the wake of this tragedy, we take it not as a time to give up but a time to press forward even harder than she has. To the Notorious RBG, Rest in Power.
Here are some notable tributes paid to her after her passing on Friday.