It is not often that I feel a connection to a famous person that is not a fictional character. But Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of those people that I could not help but feel some sort of connection to, even though it is one that I can not quite explain.
I learned about Ginsburg growing up in high school. She was someone who was always there and was one of the only people in the government that I actually fully respected, even though I did not learn a whole lot about her life until much later.
As a woman, I have so much in my life that I owe to Ginsburg, though not directly. Ginsburg was a champion for gender equality, and she was the first one to prove that both women and men can be discriminated against because of their gender.
There are plenty of books written about Ginsburg, along with one movie, “On the Basis of Sex.” It was not until I first watched this movie that I learned everything about Ginsburg, like how she was one of the first women to go to Harvard University, where she took both her classes and her husband’s after he was diagnosed with cancer. She then transferred to and eventually graduated from Columbia University.
Ginsburg’s husband died in 2010, after the two had been married for over 50 years.
Ginsburg was the second woman to become a Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her whole life, just like most other women, she was discriminated against because of her gender. But because of Ginsburg, so many discriminatory laws no longer exist.
Before Justice Ginsburg, it was legal to fire a woman for being pregnant. It was legal to deny one a job for being a woman. Because of her, these laws do not exist anymore.
It is due to Ginsburg that I can be fully confident in that I can graduate from a good college in a few months, and step out and aim to be successful in a few different areas that have been typically seen as male-dominated fields. If it was not for her, I would not be able to become a farmer, a novelist and a journalist after I graduate, as in most of those fields I probably would not have been hired because of my gender. Only 65 years ago, I probably would have been told no.
Because of Ginsburg’s life’s work, I do not have to worry about not being taken seriously because I am not married. That is not to say that discrimination will not come up in my life — in fact, it already has. But because of Ginsburg, it is no longer legal for employers to turn me away because “my husband should be able to provide for me.”
After her death on Friday, Sept. 18, I have seen a lot of posts circulating social media concerning Ginsburg, teaching me things that I did not know even today. Some of that includes quotes from her. One of my favorite ones is, “women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”
Another one is “fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Ginsburg was not just a champion for women; she was a champion for immigrants and disabled people, too. Everything she dedicated her life to was for others and by trying to win equality for everyone. She was not just a Supreme Court justice; she truly was an icon. So many things in her life make her relatable to any woman today, young or old. Ginsburg went through a lot in her life, as shown in “On the Basis of Sex.” No life is without struggle, but Ginsburg used her struggle to help others, and to help the country.
Ginsburg was diagnosed with cancer at least three separate times in her life since 1999. She fought it for as long as she possibly could, and still continued to help others and stayed on the Supreme Court until her death.
We can only hope that they wait until after the election to find her replacement, but whoever they find will never be as good or as much of an icon as Ginsburg was. But no matter what, women in America have a lot to thank Ginsburg for. I am glad that she is back with her husband now.
There is no one that deserves a statue in Brooklyn more.
As they say in “Game of Thrones,” we will never see her like again.