${ company.text }

Be the first to rate this company   Not rated   ${ company.score } stars     ${ company.industry}     ${ company.headquarters}

Career Resources

${ getArticleTitle(article) }


${ tag.display_name }


${ getCommunityPostText(community_post) }


${ contributor.full_name }

${ contributor.short_bio }

Jobs For Employers

Join InHerSight's growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more!

Sign up now

Already have an account? Log in ›

  1. Blog
  2. Women to Know
  3. August 30, 2022

15 Best Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Independence, Success & Doing Your Best

Plus, five times she spoke out against sexism

dream big
Photo courtesy of Randy Tarampi

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately known as “RBG,” spent her lifetime overcoming personal adversity while fervently fighting for others as a Supreme Court justice. 

Ginsburg began her studies at Harvard Law School, balancing being a new mother, taking care of a sick husband, and navigating a male-dominated school, where she often faced gender-based discrimination. She transferred to Columbia University for her last year, and after graduating joint first in her class, she taught at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, becoming the first woman professor at Columbia to earn tenure.

In the 1970s, Ginsburg directed the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and successfully argued six landmark gender discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1980, Ginsburg accepted Jimmy Carter’s appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where she served for 13 years until Bill Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. For 27 years, she fought for human rights, until her death in 2020.

Time after time, she proved that she was resilient, driven, and a pillar that women could depend on. Up until her 2018 term, she had not missed a single day of oral arguments in the court—not even when she was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, after surgery for colon cancer, or the day after her husband died.

Ginsburg believed in a gender-equal world free of discrimination and unfair treatment, and once said, “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.” That, she will.

Read more: 33 Motivational Quotes from Female Leaders

5 times RBG spoke out against sexism in crucial court cases

1. United States v. Virginia

Ginsburg wrote for the majority in this important case that struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s gender-based admission policy. After the Institute argued that women weren’t physically suited for VMI’s tough training, Ginsburg made it clear that she wouldn’t tolerate this blatant sexism, arguing that the policy violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

She asserted that gender equality is a constitutional right and wrote that no policy should ever "[deny]...women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature — equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in, and contribute to society." 

2. Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

This case dealt with gender pay discrimination and the statute of limitations. An employee at Goodyear, Lily Ledbetter, sued the company under the Equal Pay Act after she realized she was making thousands less than her male co-workers. Goodyear claimed that Ledbetter didn’t file her claim in a timely manner, and unfortunately, the court sided with the company in a 5–4 majority. Unsurprisingly, Ginsburg was in the minority, which believed there shouldn’t be a time limit in cases of discriminatory pay because it can happen subtly over time.

In her dissent, Ginsburg wrote, “A worker knows immediately if she is denied a promotion or transfer. Compensation disparities, in contrast, are often hidden from sight.” While Ledbetter didn’t win the case, RBG stood up for women who make less than their male counterparts and helped set groundwork for future arguments against pay discrimination.

Read more: Lilly Ledbetter, Fair Pay & 4 Ways You Can Honor Her Legacy

3. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

Ginsburg sided with the majority in this abortion case. The justices struck down Texas’s H.B. 2 Bill that imposed strict requirements on the state’s abortion clinics, declaring the requirements were unnecessary restrictions that encroached on women’s right to abortions. Although RBG didn’t write the official majority opinion, she shared her opinion on the matter, writing: “It is beyond rational belief that H.B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions. When a state severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue great risk to their health and safety.” 

4. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

In this case, the Green Family, which owns and operates over 500 Hobby Lobby stores, challenged the contraception requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Green Family organized Hobby Lobby under religious principles and argued that the requirement violated their First Amendment rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. In the end, the court sided with the Green Family, deciding that The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows for-profit companies to deny contraception coverage to employees based on religious objections. Ginsburg did not take kindly to the decision and offered a fervent dissent, listing the consequences that would ensue from this decision. She noted that the exemptions enabled organizations to prevent women from accessing contraceptive care, jeopardizing their female employees' health.

5. Oberdgefell v. Hodges

This landmark case legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. under the Fourteenth Amendment, and Ginsburg, a longstanding proponent for LGBTQ rights, sided with the majority. She completely schooled those who did not agree with the decision, stating, “Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female. That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982…Would that be a choice that state should [still] be allowed to have? To cling to marriage the way it once was?”

When John Bursch, the lawyer who argued the case, reasoned that the sole purpose of marriage was to promote procreation, Ginsburg retorted, “Suppose a couple, 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married? You don’t have to ask them any questions. You know they are not going to have any children.” 

Read more: LGBTQ-Friendly Companies: 11 Key Contributors to Inclusive Cultures

15 powerful Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes

1. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

2. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

3. “I am a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”

4. “Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself. You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.”

5. “I just try to do the good job that I have to the best of my ability and I really don't think about whether I'm inspirational. I just do the best I can.”

6. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.”

7. “As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we'll all be better off for it.”

8. "If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself."

9. "Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true."

Read more: 17 Bestselling Books on Confidence to Boost Self-Worth & Change Your Mindset

10. "People ask me sometimes, 'When will there be enough women on the court?' My answer is: 'When there are nine.' People are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that."

11. "When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out."

12. “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

13. “So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.”

14. “I really concentrate on what's on my plate at the moment and do the very best I can.”

15. “I try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they're men or women.”

Read more: How to Report Discrimination at Work

About our expert${ getPlural(experts) }

About our author${ getPlural(authors) }

Share this article

Don't Miss Out

Create a free account to get unlimited access to our articles and to join millions of women growing with the InHerSight community

Looks like you already have an account!
Click here to login ›

Invalid email. Please try again!

Sign up with a social account or...

If you already have an account, click here to log in. By signing up, you agree to InHerSight's Terms and Privacy Policy


You now have access to all of our awesome content

Looking for a New Job?

InHerSight matches job seekers and companies based on millions of workplace ratings from women. Find a job at a place that supports the kinds of things you're looking for.