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Name: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Lifetime: March 15, 1933 – Present
What she’s known for: Ginsburg currently serves as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Before her appointment to the Court in 1993, Ginsburg was one of the few female lawyers in the country and later the director of the Women’s Rights project at the ACLU. In 1980, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in District of Columbia and wrote more than 300 arguments during her service.
She was appointed as a Supreme Court Justice in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Jewish woman to serve in the position. Honest and well-reasoned, she was an audacious champion for gender equality, rallying for legalization of same-sex marriage, which passed in July 2015. Clinton said that she was akin to women’s rights as justice Thurgood Marshall for the rights of African-Americans.
Why We Love Her: Ginsburg, also known as Notorious RBG, became the strong woman she is because of her mother, who taught her the importance of education. Coming from a working class background in Brooklyn, New York, Celia Bader worked at the age of 15 to pay for her brother’s education at the expense of pursuing her own, an act which left a lasting impression on young Ruth.
RBG fit many trappings of a disadvantaged person – she was a young Jewish woman and looking for a job while married and with a daughter. She entered the work force at a time where few doors were open for women, even a woman who graduated at the top of her class at Harvard, Columbia and Cornell.
She worked tirelessly, but was still overlooked when in comparison to her male counterparts. Yet it didn’t faze her. She gracefully undermined the notion that her femininity was a weakness. After being constantly rejected while attempting to find employment upon graduation, Bader finally became a clerk to Judge Edmund Palmieri. After teaching at Rutgers and Columbia, she became the first female tenured professor at Columbia University.
Fun fact: Ginsburg is a lover of opera and in fact played an extra twice in two different opera productions.
READ MORE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life Advice for Women