In a recent interview at the Sundance Film Festival with NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, viewable in its entirety here, Justice Ginsburg reflected on the#metoo movement. “Well, I think it’s about time,” she said as she received thunderous applause from the crowd. “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,” she went on.
Justice Ginsburg also described her experiences encountering sexism in her career. As an undergraduate student at Cornell in the early 50’s, her chemistry instructor insinuated that she was not capable of taking the final exam and gave her a practice test to study. During the exam the following day, she realized it was the same test her professor had given her the day before and suspected he was trying to solicit a response of gratitude. After the test, she told the audience, she marched into her professor’s office and confronted him by saying, “How dare you!”
Justice Ginsburg also recounted her time as a faculty member of the Rutgers Law School. At one point she was asked to take a significant pay cut. When she questioned the school’s dean about male colleagues receiving a higher salary, he said that male faculty members had to support a family, but that Justice Ginsburg had a husband. She then organized with other female faculty members and fought for higher wages. “That was the very year the Equal Pay Act was passed,” she said.
This post was drafted by ISCOTUS Fellow Michael Halpin, Chicago-Kent Class of 2020, and was edited by ISCOTUS Editorial Coordinator Anna Jirschele, Chicago-Kent Class of 2018, and ISCOTUS Co-Director and Chicago-Kent faculty member Carolyn Shapiro.