As feminists, living by your values in a patriarchal society can sometimes feel like you’re swimming against the current. It’s easy to get bogged down and discouraged, and in those cases, turning to important women throughout history for inspiration is key. And there’s no better month to do that than March, which is both Women’s History Month and the month of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s birthday. On March 15th, RBG will turn 86, and it’s the perfect time to revisit some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s best quotes.
Ever since RBG graduated—first in her class—from Columbia Law School in 1959, she’s used her pioneering law career to advocate for women’s rights. In interviews, Ginsburg will sometimes recall how her career was originally stunted by biases against women at law firms in the ‘50s, as was recently depicted in the biopic On the Basis of Sex. But RBG never let anything stop her, and she not only blazed her way into becoming the second woman on the Supreme Court, but she also became an ardent advocate for women’s equality and women’s rights. Even after all these years, it seems like RBG isn’t done fighting, and that could be why she so deserves the title “Notorious.”
Check out some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s most profound quotes to remember why you can’t ever give up.
She’s said so much more than “I dissent” over the years.
1 “There will be enough women on the Supreme Court when there are nine.”
Justice Ginsburg said this perfect line while speaking at Roosevelt University in 2017.
2 “Suppose I had gotten a job as a permanent associate. Probably I would’ve climbed up the ladder and today I would be a retired partner. So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”
In an interview with MAKERS, Ginsburg reflected on how difficult it was to get hired as a woman when she graduated from law school. She noted that because she didn’t get the job she wanted, she ended up where she is today.
3 “I’m dejected, but only momentarily, when I can’t get the fifth vote for something I think is very important. But then you go on to the next challenge and you give it your all.”
Ginsburg spoke about getting back up to try again with The Record, this time reflecting on losing a majority vote in the Supreme Court.
4 “Marty was an unusual man. In fact, he was the first boy I knew who cared that I had a brain.”
RBG has often spoken about how important her late husband, Marty Ginsburg, was to her success. In the photo above, Marty holds the Bible for RBG’s swearing-in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1993.
5 “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
The second female justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t mince words when talking about equality.
6 “The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.”
Justice Ginsburg has always been one of the Supreme Court’s most important advocates for abortion rights. She stood up for a woman’s right to have an abortion in 1993 with this quote.
7 “I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.”
In an interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo News, RBG told us what #CoupleGoals really means.
8 “Now I happen to be the oldest. But John Paul Stevens didn’t step down until he was 90.”
According to The New York Times, the 86-year-old justice has no plans to retire from the Supreme Court anytime soon.
9 “We should not be held back from pursuing our full talents, from contributing what we could contribute to the society, because we fit into a certain mold, because we belong to a group that historically has been the object of discrimination.”
In an interview published by The Record, Ginsburg said these words about equality. It’s a good quote to scribble on a Post-it note and stick to your mirror.
10 “Justices continue to think and can change…I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow.”
Justice Ginsburg has held a seat on the Supreme Court since 1993 and, after all these years, she still has hope. This RBG quote, which she gave in an interview with Katie Couric, can inspire you when you feel discouraged.
11 “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
According to HuffPost, this RBG leadership quote came from a 2015 speech Ginsburg gave when she received the Radcliffe Medal from Harvard.
So many of these RBG quotes have so much potential to lift your spirits.
But also, just looking at a picture of the venerable justice doing a plank could probably have the same effect.
After Women’s History Month is over, can we have a whole RBG Appreciation Month?