Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 5 ways she changed everything for women

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presents onstage at An Historic Evening with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presents onstage at An Historic Evening with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center on September 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images) /

As the world mourns the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we’re looking at how she changed the game for women throughout her career.

The world came together to mourn this weekend after 2020 took another legend away from us this Friday: Supreme Court Justice and women’s rights champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg died at her home in Washington D.C. at the age of 87.

During her 87 years of life, Ginsburg worked tirelessly fighting for women’s rights and equality, among many other civil rights issues, first as a lawyer and then as a Supreme Court justice. She became a feminist icon that many women looked up to, and the thought of a world without her has left countless people in despair.

But how did Ginsburg become the legend she is today? Here are five ways she changed the game for women throughout her career.

She Fought for Equal Pay

Ginsburg’s fight for women’s equality in the workplace dates back as far as 1963, when she was still a law professor at Rutgers University. In fact, she and other female employees filed a complaint against the institution after discovering male colleagues were making more money. And they won.

From there, Ginsburg continued to fight for equal pay for other women across the country, both as a law professor and as a Supreme Court Justice. During her time as a lawyer, she argued and won multiple Supreme Court cases focused on gender equality and women’s rights, and she continued to defend those principles when she found herself sitting on the Supreme Court. When faced with Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which decided Lilly Ledbetter couldn’t take legal action against her employer unless it was within the first 180 days of being discriminated against, Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion with the court, defending Ledbetter rather than Goodyear.

“Pay disparities often occur, as they did in Ledbetter’s case, in small increments; cause to suspect that discrimination is at work develops over time. Comparative pay information, moreover, is often hidden from the employee’s view,” Ginsburg wrote.

And RBG went beyond merely filing her dissent with a clerk as is protocol. She helped make the case widely known to the public, drawing attention to workplace discrimination and pay disparity. Clearly, her efforts worked: When Barack Obama became President back in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became the first legislation he signed into law.

She Railed Against Gender Discrimination

Throughout her career, Ginsburg pushed back against gender discrimination, much of the time by calling upon Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, former cases with male plaintiffs, and former civil rights rulings. She became an expert at demonstrating why discriminating against a man wasn’t fair, only to turn that logic back around and leverage it in defense of women.

More from News

Reed v. Reed in 1973 is one instance during which Ginsburg used the Equal Protection Clause to strike down an Idaho statute that preferred men’s applications to women’s in cases where several people were available to administer an estate.

The well-known 1996 case, United States v. Virginia, also saw Ginsburg calling upon the Equal Protection Clause in order to get rid of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI)’s males-only admission policy, which claimed the institution’s training wasn’t suited for women. The Supreme Court upheld the Equal Protection Clause, forcing VMI to admit women as well.

She Helped Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

The 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges marked a momentous occasion for LGBTQ+ citizens: the moment same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states. Ginsburg voted to overturn the marriage bans that prevented LGBTQ+ couples from being wed in certain states, a vote that ultimately led to equal rights becoming federal law.

“Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition,” Ginsburg said during her oral arguments for the case.

Thanks to the help of RBG, women who wish to marry other women can legally do so. And that’s been a major step toward combatting discrimination against LGBTQ+ citizens, even if there’s still plenty of work to do on that front.

She Maintained Freedom of Choice

Roe v. Wade may have ruled that women can legally have an abortion without government interference back in 1973, but lawmakers across the country continue to fight the decision to this day. Luckily, Ginsburg’s place on the Supreme Court has helped prevent most opponents of pro-choice policies from making progress. In fact, as recently as 2016, Ginsburg and the other Supreme Court Justices struck down an H.B.2 law in Texas that sought to place regulations on the ability to obtain an abortion.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is just one example of Ginsburg’s dedication to upholding Roe v. Wade, but it’s certainly not the only time she stood up to those looking to eliminate women’s choices when it comes to giving birth. With her passing comes the newfound fear that there will be no one stopping Roe v. Wade‘s adversaries from overturning it.

She Paved the Way for Women in Politics

Ginsburg is one of four female Supreme Court justices in American history, and she’s helped pave the way for women to hold positions like hers — and even more ambitious ones. In fact, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even tweeted about the impact Ginsburg had on her career. She expressed how much she looked up to her, and how important it is that Americans continue to fight for everything she stood for.

In a separate tweet, Clinton also emphasized, “Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me.”

Next. 5 key elements of the Biden/Harris platform. dark

The hope and inspiration RBG brought to generations of young women hoping to make a difference is perhaps the most special aspect of her legacy. And those women will ensure her work is never forgotten.