By Haley Martinsen
Banner photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images


On September 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 years old due to metastatic pancreas cancer complications.

Young Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Studio photograph of Ruth Bader, taken in Dec. 1953 when she was a Senior at Cornell University.
Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Time

From the start, Ginsburg challenged gender stereotypes and fought for equality. 

As a result of her work, women have the right to apply for a bank account, credit card and mortgage without a male co-signer.  She helped make sure that women would receive the same military housing allowances as men and pension plan equality.

Ginsburg fought for gender equality from a young age, finishing first in her class at Cornell University and despite the dean of Harvard Law School chastising her for “taking the places of qualified males,” became the first female member of Harvard Law Review, an esteemed legal journal.

She experienced many firsts as a champion for women’s rights including graduating first in her class at Columbia Law School (where Ginsburg transferred in order to be with her husband), becoming Columbia University’s first female tenured professor, serving as the first Jewish female justice on the United States Supreme Court and the second female justice.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg relayed her dying wish to her granddaughter, who wrote it as follows: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” 

Martin D. Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1954
Martin D. Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1954. Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Time

As an advocate for gender equality and justice her entire life, Ginsburg is still protecting women’s rights after her death.  A petition campaign created by Rahna Epting wants to collect 1,200,000 signatures to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy and “hold every politician accountable to the most basic standards of fairness by demanding they not move any new nomination forward for the lifetime appointment to the highest court in the nation until every vote is counted and the inauguration is complete,” (MoveOn).

View and sign the petition here.

As a woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing is extremely saddening.  She paved the way for gender equality and worked tirelessly to protect women’s rights.  Ginsburg served as a Justice for over 25 years, but will serve as a feminist icon forever.

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

Thank you, RBG.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pictured here celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench. Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Other accomplishments of Ginsburg include:

Protecting women’s reproductive rights

In various cases, Ginsburg declared that abortion access is a constitutional right and that pregnancy discrimination is sex discrimination.

Preventing discrimination regarding survivors’ benefits

Ginsburg fought to give widowers the same survivors’ benefits as widows.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

This amendment acknowledges pregnancy discrimination as unlawful and protects women from discrimination in the workplace because of reproductive choices.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act

Allows women to apply for bank accounts, credit cards and mortgages without a male co-signer.  This Act also allows women to receive the same military housing allowances as men, and pension plan equality.

Requiring women to serve on juries

Ginsburg argued for gender equality and that women’s civic duty should be valued as men’s is, and women should not be exempt from serving on a jury due to family and household obligations.