When I woke up yesterday morning I was greeted with some very upsetting news: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away. When I first read this story I was overcome with an immense sense of shock. Not shock because her death was unexpected or premature, but shock because I couldn't believe that a figure as resilient and strong as Ruth Bader Ginsburg is no longer here with us. She was a feminist icon, a political powerhouse, and an incredible inspiration to me and so many others.
I first became aware of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her work in 2018, when I went and saw the film On The Basis of Sex. When I went to see the film, I had no idea what it was about, but I left the cinema feeling inspired and wanting to know more about the life and work of this trailblazer. On The Basis of Sex provides an entertaining and interesting insight into Ruth Bader Ginsburg's early life and career - so if you're not familiar with her, I definitely recommend watching this film. However, in short, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a champion of gender equality. As one of only nine women in her Harvard Law School class and the second female Justice of the Supreme Court, she dedicated her life and career to the fight towards equality. Here are just some of the things she helped achieve for women in the US:
The right to have a job without being discriminated based on gender.
The right for a woman to open a bank account without a male co-signer.
The right for a woman to be pregnant/have children and work.
The right for a woman to sign a mortgage without a man.
She founded the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which has participated in over 300 gender discrimination cases.
And the list goes on.
A life in which all of the above is illegal seems completely unrealistic and unjust; Ruth Bader Ginsburg recognised this and did all that she could to change the status quo.
Whilst her work only really affected the day-to-day lives of American women, Ruth Bader Ginsburg still managed to have a profound impact on my life, and on the lives of so many other women across the world. To me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg represents a shining light of hope and symbolises a level of strength and integrity that I aspire to. She showed me all that women can achieve, and cemented in me the belief that all women deserve to be - and can be - held in equal regard to their male counterparts. These feelings are clearly reciprocated globally by millions of others. Last night, candle lit vigils took place across America and hundreds of celebrities expressed their sadness on social media. Regardless of political party, personal opinions or gender, yesterday the world seemed united in wanting to honour the memory of someone who dedicated her life to better ours. It's safe to say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the game for women. She laid the foundations for an equal society for all, and it is now up to us to finish the work that she started.
“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg