Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is beloved to so many people for her fierce spirit and defense of women's rights. Ginsburg has spoken out for the rights of many, and gained a reputation in the court of championing progressive values. In an op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, Ginsburg credited an equal partnership with her late husband, Martin Ginsburg, as what allowed her get to where she is today, and it's an important lesson for all of us — men and women alike.
Pretty much any advice coming from the Notorious RBG is good enough to consider, and this insight is especially poignant. In the column, Ginsburg recalls coming up through law school at a time when women enrolling in law school was considered by some to be taking the place of a man. When she became pregnant with her first child with her husband, she faced the choice to either devote all her time to her daughter, or continue pursuing law school and establish a balance between the two. She credited her husband and their strong, equal partnership with allowing this to happen:
I have had more than a little bit of luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg. I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse. Early on in our marriage, it became clear to him that cooking was not my strong suit. To the eternal appreciation of our food-loving children (we became four in 1965, when our son, James, was born), Marty made the kitchen his domain and became chef supreme in our home.
Marty coached me through the birth of our son, he was the first reader and critic of articles, speeches and briefs I drafted, and he was at my side constantly, in and out of the hospital, during two long bouts with cancer. And I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg's tribute to her late husband reinforces the notion that not only do women need to support each other, but men need to support women so that everyone can have a seat at the table. Women's rights have come a long way, but the only way for us to see true equality is if men step up and do their part as well. Like Emma Watson brilliantly said when she addressed men during the launch of the He For She initiative, "Gender equality is your issue, too."
When men support women, everyone is lifted up, and everyone benefits. But while an equal partnership allowed one of the greatest feminist icons of our age to be successful, that doesn't mean that every women needs to be in a heterosexual relationship in order to be successful. It just means that equality is not a battle for women to fight alone, and the more we all stand together, the better off we are.