15 Badass Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes That Will Inspire You to Fight Harder For Equality
These are the words she'll be remembered by.
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. In our humble opinion, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will forever be one of the best people to look to. As we mourn her loss (she passed away on Friday, September 18th, 2020), there’s no better way to honor her memory than to relive some of her most inspiring moments and uplifting quotes—giving us the strength to carry on her lifelong fight.
Ever since RBG graduated—first in her class—from Columbia Law School in 1959, she used her pioneering law career to advocate for women’s rights. In interviews, Ginsburg would 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. RBG never stopped fighting, which why she so deserves the title “Notorious.” She will continue to inspire us with these memorable words.
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. “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability”
2. "My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent."
3. "Real and enduring change happens one step at a time."
4. “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.
5. “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.
6. “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.
7. “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.
8. “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.
9. “Marty was an unusual man. In fact, he was the first boy I knew who cared that I had a brain.”
RBG 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.
10. “The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.”
Justice Ginsburg was always 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.
11. “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.
12. “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 87-year-old justice had no plans to retire from the Supreme Court—and her legacy proves that she fought for what she believed in until the end..
13. “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.
14."You can disagree without being disagreeable.”
This quote is basically how to argue 101.
15. “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 held a seat on the Supreme Court from 1993 to 2020 and, after all those years, she still held out hope. This RBG quote, which she gave in an interview with Katie Couric, can inspire you when you feel discouraged.
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.
This woman impacted and inspired the lives of so many. Can we have a whole RBG Appreciation Month?