Supreme Court justice Ginsburg shares her #MeToo moment

Published: January 23, 2018
SHARES
Email
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for an official photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, PHOTO:REUTERS

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for an official photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington, PHOTO:REUTERS

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared her experiences over gender inequality at the Sundance Film Festival panel for a documentary about her life, “RBG” in Park City, Utah.

When asked about the #MeToo movement, she said, “It’s about time. For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter harassment, and that’s a good thing,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

Justice Ginsburg spoke about an incident she went through from the 1950s when she sought help from a Cornell instructor before an exam.
Ginsburg said, the instructor gave her what he said was a practice exam and when she took the actual test it was exactly the same, she understood what exactly the professor wanted in return and got furious at him.

Founder of French #MeToo campaign being sued for slander by ‘harasser’

But Ginsburg, who would later go on to become a nationally recognised women’s rights lawyer and then the second woman ever appointed to the nation’s highest court, refused to be intimidated by her instructor.

She said she “went to his office and said: ‘How dare you? How dare you do this?’ And that was the end of that.”

People assumed Ginsburg must have done well in the exam but she replied she deliberately made a few mistakes.

Sexual harassment was very common back then as well, said the justice — “every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn’t have a name for it” — and said she didn’t worry there would be a backlash to the recent wave of allegations of sexual misconduct.

“So far it’s been great,” she said. “When I see women appearing every place in numbers, I’m less worried about a backlash than I might have been 20 years ago.”

The 84-year-old justice shared few other stories of the blatant sexism she comes across as a young professional.

She talked about another incident, where she was forced to take a salary cut, but upon asking asked how much of a cut one of her male peers would be taking, she got the following reply :
“Ruth, he has a wife and two children to support. You have a husband with a good paying job in New York.” Together with other women, she filed an Equal Pay Act complaint, and the university eventually settled.

Ginsburg has been on the Supreme Court for 25 years and has acquired a fan following for her revolutionary work against gender discrimination and her dry sense of humor. She has been dubbed “the Notorious RBG” by her followers, and has been imitated on “Saturday Night Live.”

“I liked the actress who portrayed me,” she said of Kate McKinnon. “And I would like to say ‘Gins-Burn’ sometimes to my colleagues,” she said, referencing McKinnon’s catchphrase.
Ginsburg guaranteed her fans that she had no plans to retire any time soon.
“As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here,” she said.

This story originally appeared on NBC News.

Facebook Conversations

More in World