#NotoriousRBG #RuthBaderGinsburg #Feminist
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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was no stranger to sexual harassment and discrimination at the start of her prestigious law career.
The 84-year-old feminist icon from Brooklyn, speaking Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival, reflected on the burgeoning success of the #MeToo movement, as well as her own brushes with harassment and gender inequality.
“Every woman of my vintage knows what sexual harassment is, although we didn’t have a name for it,” Ginsburg told her longtime friend, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, in Park City, Utah.
Ginsburg, clutching her microphone with both hands, said she grasped the seriousness of the abusive power collegiate men could have over women during her undergraduate studies at Cornell University in the 1950s. There, she came face-to-face with a chemistry professor apparently vying for sexual favors.
Ginsburg sought help from the teacher, realizing she was not confident about the subject matter. He offered her a practice exam and she took it, she told the audience.
“The next day, the test was the practice exam. I knew exactly what he wanted in return,” she said.
She had no legal options to strike back at the teacher so Ginsburg stormed into his office saying, “How dare you? How dare you do this?”
“And that was the end of that,” she said.
Another standout moment Ginsburg cited during her hour-long talk took place when she joined Rutgers University School of Law as a professor in 1963. The dean at the time told her that she would need to take a pay cut to work there.
“When he told me how much of a cut, I was astonished,” she said.
She asked what a male colleague with a similar education was earning. The answer, she learned, was that the other professor required a larger salary because “he has a wife and children to support.”
“You have a husband with a good paying job in New York,” she recalled the administrator saying.
The next year, the women of Rutgers filed an equal pay complaint, Ginsburg said. The school settled, doling out a $6,000 salary to the lowest paid employee and a larger bump for others.
She experienced another round of gender disparity when she was a young mother. The Columbia University graduate joined the Southern District of New York as a clerk, assuming the judge wanted to make the judicial world a better place for women.
However, this notion was crushed when she learned the truth behind her hiring in a law journal column penned by the teacher who recommended her for the job.
“The judge was hesitant. He said he had a woman law clerk and she was fine. But I had a 4-year-old child,” Ginsburg said. “He was concerned I couldn’t do the job, wouldn’t be there when he needed me because I would be taking care of my child.”
Her professor made a deal that the judge couldn’t refuse — if Ginsburg didn’t meet the judge’s expectations, he would swap her with a male graduate.
“That was the carrot. The stick was, if you don’t give her a chance, I will never recommend another Columbia student to you,” Ginsb
~ From Youtube