Unless you've been living under a rock (I won't judge you if you are) you know that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday at the age of 87.
The news took my breath away. I was half way down the stairs when my husband told me and I literally couldn't move. RBG was one of my heroes and I had convinced myself that she would live forever. Her legacy is so immense that it's difficult to wrap my head around it. So many things I take for granted were made possible because of her vision, integrity and fortitude.
Yes, Ginsburg was a "liberal" justice, best known as a crusader for women's rights. But regardless of your political views or gender identity, you owe a debt of gratitude to RBG. Here are just a few highlights.
WOMEN, you can do these things without a male co-signer because of RBG:
- obtain a credit card or bank account
- secure a mortgage
- sign a lease
- start a company
- consent to your own medical treatment.
You have RBG to thank if you've retained a job:
- during a pregnancy
- after having children
- or without having to provide proof of sterilization to your employer.
And MEN, listen up. RBG fought for your equal rights, too. In Craig v. Boren, she fought for (and won) an Oklahoma frat brother's right to purchase beer before the age of 21. At the time (1976), the state allowed 'under age' females to purchase beer, as they were believed to be more responsible drinkers.
In Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, she secured a male widower's access to his wife's social security benefits, which had been denied solely because he was male. Along with Califano v. Goldfarb, this landmark gender discrimination case challenged the assumption that fathers were the sole breadwinners.
Do yourself a favor and read a few articles or books about Ginsburg. Or watch one of the numerous movies available on Hulu or Netflix. No matter how much you may already know about her, you're guaranteed to learn something new.
But whatever you do, please don't cheapen her legacy by believing that she only fought for women's rights. Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for EQUAL rights for everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, family status or political affiliation.
After lying in repose at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, her body lies in state in the U.S. Capitol today. 34 men have received this honor since 1852, but RBG is the first woman to do so; making history even in death.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon, role model, hero and an all- around badass. She empowered and energized young women around the world. Let's honor her legacy by trying our best each and every day to fill her gigantic(ally tiny) footsteps. Rest In Power, RBG.