She has been using that quiet voice of hers to shape the course of US’s history for more than six decades. Ruth Bader Ginsberg turns 86-years-old this march and she has been a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993. A film, “On the Basis of Sex” (starring Felicity Jones) is now celebrating on screen a woman who has been notoriously known for championing gender equality, healthcare reform and marriage equality.
Widely recognised for her dissenting opinions as well as her collection of collars (also known as jabots) she wears when in court, Ginsburg is a liberal social icon. She’s been fighting against gender constraints for the entirety of her career.
She was one of only nine women out of 552 students in her Harvard Law School class of 1959. She tied for first in her class at Columbia Law School but couldn’t find a job after graduation. When she began her teaching career in 1963, there were only 18 female tenured law professors in the entire country.
What can we learn from her? Ginsburg has never blamed her circumstances for a lack of performance or commitment to her work. Perhaps the obstacles make her even stronger. She has always persisted. From early in her career, when she couldn’t find a position at a law firm, to later in life when she was battling cancer, she persisted. She never missed a day of arguments on the Court. When she had young children, she would put them to bed and work into the early hours of the morning. When her husband was ill, she took care of him and never dropped the ball. And last week, when she broke three ribs, even at the age of 85, she continued to work, never missing a beat.
Work for what you believe in – she said-, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want, then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor.
Whenever you feel to give up, think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and stay connected with your value and purpose, make no excuses. Don’t quit, do your best every day.