America has lost a cultural and feminist icon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her whole life advocating for human and women’s rights, up until her last breath. As a country, we must mourn her death and try our best to not politicize this situation. If you have followed this situation closely, you will know politicians have already done just that, many are calling either for an appointment under Trump, or urging U.S. Congress to wait for the appointment until the next election.
I don’t want to talk about that. You can find columns from The Washington Post or The New York Times that will discuss what either of those decisions will mean for America. In the week following her death, it’s more important to discuss the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg rather than the messy situation that will follow her passing.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career in law in the early 1960s, where she faced gender discrimination right away. She struggled to get hired even though she had attended Harvard Law as well as Columbia Law, and graduated first in her class. Even after getting hired, she faced wage discrimination and was paid much less than her male counterparts.
RBG’s activism in the 1970s changed the way Americans looked at gender. In 1971, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Women all over America, including in Athens, faced similar gender discrimination in the workplace and in general that Ginsburg too faced. There were several rules in place by Ohio University that specifically controlled what female students could wear, how long they could stay out and what roles they could hold in student government. These strict and sexist rules were referred to as “women’s hours,“ and violating the rules could result in expulsion.
Ginsburg’s activism and the way she changed how we look at gender equality positively impacted students at Ohio University. Before she was even a Justice, she advocated for including gender as a protected identity under the 14th amendment, as well as advocated for the Equal Rights Amendment.
RBG continued her activism when she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. In 1993, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. In her 27 years on the bench, she fought for women’s equality, women’s reproductive rights, LBGTQ+ rights and more.
These are all activism issues that continue to impact the whole country, but truly impact Athens. If it weren’t for the protection of women’s reproductive rights that RBG advocated for, Athens may not have a Planned Parenthood Clinic, where people can go for STD testing, HIV screenings, birth control, Men’s and Women’s Healthcare and more.
The choices of the Supreme Court matter and impact individual communities. I am thankful that for the past three decades Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fought and advocated for liberties that all people deserve to have. She cared about freedom and she cared about the people of this country. May her memory be a blessing.
Mikayla Rochelle is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Mikayla by tweeting her at @mikayla_roch.