Ruth Bader Ginsburg – A Life of Purpose
September 19, 2020
Statue of woman with scales of justice and sword Ruth Bader Ginsburg - A life of purpose Ranjani Rao female influence

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” ~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I woke up to the sad news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Justice fondly known as RBG. There is a palpable loss when a person of such stature and influence leaves the world. In an age of viral popularity where impact and fame are often unrelated and always fickle, how often do you come across a person whose actions remain of great consequence for decades, influencing the life and philosophies of multiple generations?

There is much to admire about this brilliant woman who attended Harvard Law school in the 1950s. Enduring a cancer diagnosis for her husband during their years at Harvard, working twice as hard to keep up with his school work and hers, while mothering a toddler, she ultimately earned her law degree from Columbia only to find that no law firm in New York would hire a woman lawyer. 

I was a graduate student in the Washington DC metropolitan area when I first heard about RBG’s confirmation as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. I didn’t know her back story then but I knew that it was a major breakthrough for a woman to be appointed. Over the years I heard her name often on NPR, as I drove to and from school and work, trying to absorb some meaningful news via radio in the era before social media flooded our lives.

Following the resurgence RBG’s popularity and interest in her life, last year I went through a phase where I devoured news about in faraway Singapore. I read a book, watched a movie and a documentary about RBG.

The book,“Notorious RBG – The life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” provided details about her early life, the strong influence of her mother who died when Ruth was seventeen and the support of husband, Marty, and his parents; and their family life as a power couple among Washington’s elite.

The movie, On the Basis of Sex, dramatized the life of a young Ruth and focused on the most important case that she won, not just for herself but for all women who encountered discrimination, by using a shrewd strategy of using the case of a man who is discriminated against on the basis on gender to draw attention to the fact that drawing a ‘gender line’ hurts society as a whole, not just women.

The documentary, RBG, featured interviews with Ginsburg and her family, photos and grainy videos of her early life but in every shot, one thing shone clearly, the power of this petite lady who continued to dazzle with her devotion to her work and her beliefs well into her eighties.

If you have time for just one, read the book, but if you want see how RBG’s life unfolds, watch the movie and the documentary. You will be inspired.

What better way to honor a great life?

Have you been inspired by RBG? Or have a similar story to share? Drop a comment or a note.

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