Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Iconic US Supreme Court Justice who died at the grand age of 87 on the 18th of September 2020 has just been laid to rest.
As this Isaac Newton’s quote says, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, here are three great lessons from her life that can inspire every young woman to see further and replicate success in their own lives;
CULTIVATE THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE AND RESILIENCE
In a 2018 documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, her childhood friends talked excitedly about how Ruth’s exercise routine included 20 counts of push ups three times a week at her old age.
This I call the power of resilience! This same power was evident as she pushed through different forms of challenges that presented themselves on her life path.
During her lifetime, Ruth defeated cancer four times! Not only that, when her husband Martin Ginsburg was hospitalized because of testicular cancer in 1956 while a student at Harvard Law School, she attended his own classes to copy his notes. Nevertheless, amidst caring for him, her first child and pursuing her own studies in Harvard Law School, she maintained her position as top of the class.
Again, despite her high academic achievement, she had a hard time getting a job.
Her career trajectory was nothing short of astounding! She became Columbia’s first tenured female professor, got appointed to the United States Court of Appeal for the District Columbia and Supreme Court justice, becoming the second woman ever appointed to America’s Supreme Court of Justice and also the oldest that served on the bench, amongst other notable achievements.
“If you know what the right thing is, you keep working at it until it succeeds”, said Ruth. How profound! This principle was clearly expressed in her personal and professional life again and again.
Life had dished her a gamut of challenges. But at every point, Ruth Bader Ginsburg kept pushing, keeping afloat, never allowing the challenges to steer her away from her goals.
KNOW YOUR SUPERPOWER
One of her quotes for women that circulated widely online after her death was “you can’t have it all, all at once”.
A woman’s world is highly demanding, according to a study conducted by WELCH of 2000 American moms of kids between ages five and twelve. The study says that the average hours a mom worked a week is 98 hours which is the equivalent of two and a half full time jobs! Since this is the case for almost every woman, to cope, Udo Ukonjo; a real estate mogul and women empowerment advocate in a recent conference for women advises that a woman should know her superpower and refrain from being a super woman.
In the case of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her superpower in her marriage and home was thinking as against cooking—a role that is traditionally ascribed to women. “My father did the cooking and my mother did the thinking”, says Ruth’s daughter, Jane.
CHOOSE YOUR LIFE PARTNER WISELY
Many Iconic figures have advised at different points in time that young ambitious women seeking life partners should be very careful when making their decisions as this is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.
In medieval times, women had little or no say about whom they will marry. Their parents made the choice for them. Today, we have the power to make our choices. So, it is imperative that young women use the power of choice in this regard rightly—choose a partner that supports your ambition to realize your potential.
…a woman’s role is demanding
Given that the role of a woman is demanding whether as a stay-at-home mum or a working mom, how far she goes in fulfilling her life’s dreams, goals and reaching her full potential will obviously depend on whether she has a supportive spouse.
“To have that kind of support from your life’s partner makes a big difference”, said Ruth. RBG was married to her husband Martin Ginsburg for 56 years before his demise in 2010. In a Duke Law school Panel, Ruth had this to say about her husband: “I was blessed to be in a marriage to a man who never thought my work was least as important as his”.
It is also not surprising to find that her husband Martin played a pivotal role in helping her get the appointment as the Supreme Court Justice. “Marty’s effort to smoothen the way for his wife’s advancement was characteristic of the couple and their relationship. No other campaign for a seat on the Court had been spearheaded by a male spouse”, writes Sherron De Hart in a biography of the lovestory between RBG and her husband Martin.
Her husband even had this to say in a letter he wrote for her before he died, “What a treat it has been to watch you progress to the very top of the legal world!” Obviously, Ruth made the right choice when she picked Martin as her life partner back then in 1954.
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