29 June, 2019
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a legend in women history and even has a movie made after her. She was the second women to ever serve in the Supreme Court and she was very deserving of it. Ruth had a full scholarship to Cornell University and in the movie “On the Basis of Sex” she is one of the top students. Even after graduating it was hard for Ruth to find a job as a lawyer because of her gender. Eventually she settled for a job as a professor and started to become more involved with gender equality. Ruth even became the founding counsel of ACLU’s women’s rights project. After her struggle of personally dealing with gender discrimination, she stood up for herself and was not afraid to fight for what is right and has helped women have a voice.
In Ruths closing argument for a case she is working on in the movie, “On the Basis of Sex” she gives a moving speech talking about why gender equality is important and how it will not ruin the system but improve it. “We are not asking you to change the country. That has already happened without any court’s permission. We are asking you to protect the right of the country to change,” (On the Basis of Sex). This quote stands out because it is talking about how this country is unenviably changing and how the court is trying to keep everything in “order” by making laws that seem fair but are really actually biased. Ruth is trying convince the judges that change is not a bad thing and people should not be afraid of it.
“Our sons and daughters are barred by law from opportunities based on assumptions about their abilities. We must take these laws on, one by one, for as long as it takes, for their sake,” (On the Basis of Sex). Ruth is referring to a tax law, Section 214, that was biased about gender roles and was her first step into changing the system. Ruth wanted to change to happen and decided to take a slower approach by fighting for one law at a time. If she can convince the court to make a small change then it would open doors for more people to fight and be hopeful of future change. Ruth talks about how the laws are made by assuming each genders ability which is not fair to men or women. A woman should be able to go out and find a job just as easily as a man if she has the same qualifications. Ruth and her husband both graduated with the same degrees yet Ruth was not able to find her dream job as a lawyer while her husband became a successful lawyer. Ruth wanted to fight for future women and men by getting rid of made up gender roles.
“You are being urged to protect the culture and traditions, and morality of an America that no longer exist,” (On the Basis of Sex). This statement is very powerful because she is pointing out how the court and the people in the court are avoiding the changes already happening in America. No matter what the court is trying to keep in place more people are started to realize what is wrong with the laws. Ruth mentions how in law school there were not even bathrooms for women, she then brings up how things have already changed over the years and women are becoming more relevant in these types of environments. “A generation ago, my students would have been arrested for indecency for wearing the clothes that they do. Sixty-five years ago, it would have been unimaginable that my daughter would aspire to a career. And a hundred years ago, I would not have the right to stand before you. There are a hundred and seventy-eight laws that differentiate on the basis of sex. Count them. The government did the favor of compiling them for you. And while you’re at it, I urge you to read them. They’re obstacles to our children’s aspirations,” (On the Basis of Sex). Ruth is stating that America is changing no matter what and the laws are making it a disadvantage for people to be what they want. By stating all the changes that have already happened, the judges can see that no matter what laws are in place the country will change and evolve and women are becoming more outspoken. In the movie, Ruth has daughter who is motivates her to fight even harder not only for her own rights but for her daughter’s future. She wants her daughter to grow up in a world where she is not judged by her gender or put at a disadvantage.
“These are laws written by men who think we are privileged to be excused from men’s obligations. But it is not a privilege, it is a cage, and these laws are the bars!” (On the Basis of Sex). Ruth is describing these laws as a cage because women feel trapped and forced to live a certain life style. It is not every women’s dream to stay at home, cook, clean and raise kids. Women now want to go out and get an education and have a voice in the world the same as men. Men back then thought it was a privilege for women to stay home all day and not be out working, when in reality not all little girls dream of becoming a house wife when they grow up. Women now have a chance at a career and have opportunities never imagined by previous generations. Ruth is a woman to admire because she stood up for what is right and took a chance for women everywhere. I chose her closing argument from the movie because it was a strong statement that was said to male judges. She put her fear aside and did fought for something she believed in. I think every women should look up to her and feel ashamed for our gender but stand up for it and keep fighting for our rights.
Aaron M. Houck, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Encyclopaedia Britannica,Encyclopaedia Britannica,inc.
Ed Hightower, On the Basis of Sex and Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The manufacturing of a “living legend”, Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).