What can the legacy of the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg teach our children?
Over the past days, much has been written about RBG and her illustrious career. Young girls, teens, mothers and grandmothers have long recognized and appreciated RBG’s many contributions to life as we know it. Many see her as a feminist icon; a larger than life giant that stood a mere 5 feet tall. As we mourn the loss of this amazing intellect, let’s reflect together on her legacy and how we can raise the next generation of leaders.
Thank you, Ruth, for teaching us these valuable social lessons:
- Females have a tremendous impact on the world. We flourish when we uplift each other; when we are provided encouragement and mentoring to find our voice, feel empowered, and to feel confident in self-expression
- We have the right to be assertive and fight for the social causes we believe in; to advocate for ourselves and others by being an upstander. As she famously said: “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
- Leadership and resilience can be learned and practiced early on. From extra-curriculars like student government, sports, or the debate team, it’s important for women to hold positions of leadership to skillfully learn cooperation, effective communication, and how to persevere despite challenges or setbacks. Like these activities, life is competitive. There will be disappointments, failures, and wins. Ruth taught us all about resilience. From a young age, girls can learn to persist when the going gets rough and grow from hardship. Just as Ruth faced and overcame obstacles in her personal and professional life, girls can learn coping strategies, teamwork to problem solve and effect change. Ruth’s pushing through health issues to continue to serve on the court serves as an example for those struggling with physical or mental health challenges, or overcoming disabilities.
- Girls can learn about perspective-taking and empathy through community service via school, family or faith-based organizations. Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia represented different ends of the constitutional spectrum. None the less, they were able to treat one another with respect and were able to enjoy a friendship around many interests that they had in common. Likewise, it is important for our children to have diverse friends. Participation in debate can teach and practice these skills. Learning to accept and appreciate differences is an important goal for us all.
- It’s important to teach our youth being an upstander for marginalized groups and causes . Here our youth can make a difference through social and political activism. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager working for Climate Change, is a wonderful example of our new generation of activists.
RBG is a female-empowerment icon; a voice for gender equality and an example to both boys and girls that a smart, capable woman can balance both personal and professional challenges, and that both genders make historical contributions to society. We are indebted to her for her endless efforts and for the many valuable lessons she has taught us in her lifetime.
Parents and educators – Check out the resources below for teaching and reinforcing female empowerment, and for raising kind humans that can make a difference in the world.
- A is for Awesome- 23 Iconic Women who Changed the World by Eva Chen- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEKORmxZC-U&ab_channel=LearningatHome%21
- I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=lc4anJHZX1Q&app=desktop&ab_channel=Grammy%27sBookNook
- Stand tall Molly Lou Melon by Patti Lovell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0PJbx6cUFo&ab_channel=HappyCultivated
- Sheila Rae, The Brave by Kevin Henkes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsFtGHsyZCU&ab_channel=FunAndGamzChannel
- A Mighty Girl is a website designed to empower girls. Blog topics focus on timely topics, spotlighting actual female role models throughout history and fiction and containing suggestions for books and resources to open timely conversation.
- Read A Mighty Justice for more insights into the life of RBG and resources where girls of all ages can learn more. https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=18772
- Little Women
- Hidden Figures