Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg, born March 15, 1933, was most certainly an inspiration to all women as she fought for women’s rights and dominated in her law career — a profession that was known to be dominated by men for 27 years. She was the first Jewish woman and the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States as an Associate Justice in 1993. In 2020, the prominent American lawyer lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. As a homage to her life and in honor of her birthday, we’ve highlighted some of her most significant accomplishments.
Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg, commonly known as the ‘Notorious RBG’ for her transformational advocacy on gender equality, was a role model to many young women — especially those who have pursued the legal profession. Born as Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15, 1933, she was the second daughter to her parents Nathan and Cecelia Bader. Ginsburg had one older sister, Marylin, who passed away at the young age of six when she was only a few months old. Marylin gave Ginsburg the family nickname, ‘Kiki.’ Born into a Jewish family, the Bader’s belonged to the East Midwood Jewish Center where she became more familiar with the Jewish faith and Hebrew language. During her teenage years, she attended a Jewish Summer Program known as “Camp Che-Na-Wah,” where she served as a camp counselor until the age of 18. Ginsburg was always a brilliant student who worked diligently and achieved excellent academic results, with her mother being a great influence in her educational accomplishments, she taught her the importance of education. Sadly, Cecelia did not get to see her daughter graduate from high school, as she died from cancer the day before her high school graduation when Ginsburg was just 15 years old.
Ginsburg enrolled at Cornell University, New York, where she met Martin David Ginsburg — her husband. In 1954, after graduating from Cornell University with her bachelor’s degree, she married Martin and moved to Oklahoma. In 1955, at the age of 21, Ginsburg fell pregnant and gave birth to her daughter — Jane Ginsburg. A year after her birth, she enrolled in Harvard Law School to pursue her dreams of becoming a lawyer — she was one of nine women in a class of 500 men. Ginsburg achieved excellent academic results at law school, however, did not complete her law degree at Harvard and transferred to Columbia Law School in New York, after her husband had to relocate for a job at a New York law firm.
In 1959, Ginsburg graduated with her law degree and came first in her class at Columbia Law School. Despite her excellent results, Ginsburg faced challenges finding a job after graduation as she was discriminated against for being a woman who wanted to enter a male-dominated profession. Her career as a law professor started in the early 1960s at Rutgers Law School, where she became the second female law professor at the school. During her employment there, she was unhappy with the unequal salary between males and females and fought for pay equality, bringing about the ‘Equal Pay Act.’
Throughout the 1970s, Ginsburg gained more recognition as she became accomplished in many areas. During the early 1970s, she started employment at the Columbia Law School as a law professor, becoming the first female professor at the school. During this time, she co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination, fought for women to receive equal retirement benefits as men, and co-founded and served as the director of the ‘Women’s Rights Project’ at the American Civil Liberties Union. Ginsburg also successfully fought several cases relating to gender equality and discrimination before the Supreme Court, winning five out of the six cases.
In 1980, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and in 1993, was appointed by President Bill Clinton as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, where she served until she died in 2020. As a justice of the Supreme Court, she was the second female justice, the first Jewish justice since 1969, and the first female Jewish justice in this position.
She obtains her bachelor's degree at Cornell University.
Ginsburg graduates with her law degree and achieves first place in her class.
Ginsburg becomes a law professor at Rutgers Law School, where she is the second female law professor.
Ginsburg becomes the first female law professor at the Columbia Law School.
Ginsburg fights and wins five out of six cases before the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg is appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the “U.S. Court of Appeals.”
Ginsburg is appointed by President Bill Clinton as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Why We Love Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She stood up for equality
Ginsburg fought for equality in many areas, not just gender equality. She fought for equality in education, work discrimination, and healthcare.
She fought for the protection of pregnant women
Decades ago, women who fell pregnant were to be fired from their workplace. From her very own experience, Ginsburg hid her pregnancy while teaching at a law school. In the 1970s, she argued that keeping pregnant women from work is sex discrimination.
She inspires female leadership and independence
Ginsburg took the lead in what she stood for throughout her entire career and brought change to many unjust laws. Her empowering actions have made her a pop culture icon among many young women around the world.
5 Surprising Facts
Ginsburg was quite the foodie
Her favorite kinds of food were Italian, seafood, Asian cuisine, and New York bagels with smoked salmon.
She was a terrible driver
Ginsburg failed her driver's license the first five times she took it, and her husband often teased her about her driving skills.
She followed a daily workout schedule
She made sure to follow her daily fitness routine every day for an hour with her trainer.
She enjoyed mystery books
She was an avid reader of mystery books by Amanda Cross and Dorothy L. Sayers.
She loved opera music
Her favorite opera composers were Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg FAQs
How much did Ruth Bader Ginsburg make a year?
Serving as a justice of the United States Supreme Court, her annual salary was approximately $255,300.
Who replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg?
Following her death in 2020, Ginsburg was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
What did Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband do?
Martin David Ginsburg was also an American lawyer, specializing in tax law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s birthday dates