11 Books To Read After You Watch The New Film About Ruth Bader Ginsburg

by Kerri Jarema

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is an undeniable American Icon, and the upcoming biopic On The Basis of Sex is really only one facet of her remarkable story. A Supreme Court Justice since 1993, Ginsberg is the second female justice of only four to ever be confirmed to the court, and her forceful dissents have become both legal and pop culture landmarks. But before she became a justice, she was a law student at Harvard (one of only a few women in her class) and would soon become of the biggest legal advocates for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights.

It's the latter that On The Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones as RBG, really hones in on, but if you want to get a even more broad look at Ginsberg's life and work — or you really want to dive into more of those early landmark women's rights cases — I've got a few books that will do just that. Her status as an unlikely fashion icon, to her supportive relationship with late husband Marty Ginsberg, to her place in history as a feminist trailblazer: it's all in the books below. Pick up a few after you catch the film, and keep those badass vibes going.

'My Own Words' by Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The first book published Ruth Bader Ginsburg since she became a Supreme Court Justice in 1993, My Own Words delves into a wide range of topics, including gender equality interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.

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'Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work' by Gillian Thomas

This book shares the stories of five women behind the Title VII Supreme Court decision, including Ida Phillips, who was denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child, and Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before “sexual harassment” even had a name.

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'The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg' by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Your ultimate guide to RBG's modern influence, this irreverent book — created by a lawyer and a journalist — talks readers through Ginsberg's life and career, as well as her status as a feminist icon for the millennial set.

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'The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace' by Lynn Povich

If you're interested in learning more about the landmark women's rights cases of the '60s and '70s, Lynn Povich's personal account of the Newsweek court cast that inspired the short-lived Hulu series is just what you need.

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'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life' by Jane Sherron De Hart

This comprehensive biography of the judge took 15 years to finish, and was written with the cooperation of RBG herself and based on many interviews with the justice, her husband, her children, her friends, and her associates.

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'The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women' by Kate Moore

While these workers' rights cases were tried long before Ginsberg was a judge, readers will be just as enthralled by the WWI era fight taken up by the "shining girls" of the country's radium-dial factories.

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'Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World' by Linda Hirshman

These dual biography of O'Connor (the first female Supreme Court justice) and Ginsberg illuminates the crucial work of both women.

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'My Life on the Road' by Gloria Steinem

While Ginsberg was fighting the case On The Basis of Sex follows, Steinem was making her mark as a women's rights activist (and an icon to Ginsberg's daughter, Jane.) Her latest memoir details personal anecdotes from that time and beyond.

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'Ruth Bader Ginsburg: In Her Own Words' by Helena Hunt

Like so many cultural icons, Ginsberg has doled out some seriously memorable quotes, thoughts, and observations. This book compiles some of the best; it is meticulously curated from interviews, speeches, court opinions, dissents. Read it for a quick dip of inspiration.

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'My Beloved World' by Sonia Sotomayor

Another Supreme Court Justice who made history, this time as the first Latinx person to occupy the bench, Sonia Sotomayor's memoir is essential reading. In the book, Sotomayor recounts with candor her journey from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench.

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'Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court' by Sandra Day O'Connor

If you're looking for more information about the Supreme Court as whole (and behind the newspaper headlines) Justice O'Connor's book sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the institution that it is today.

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