20 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Equality and Breaking the Barriers


Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Supreme Court justice. After finishing her law degree, she was rejected for a Supreme Court clerkship because she was a woman. Instead, she entered into academia, teaching at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School.

For the most part of her legal career, she advocated gender equality and women’s rights. Never backing down and firm in her beliefs, she won many arguments before the Supreme Court. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

After over a decade, she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton where she served as an Associate Justice from 1993 until her death. Ginsburg became known among the masses for her impassioned liberal dissents and judicial achievements.

Her most prominent majority opinion came in 1996 when the court abolished Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy. Her adamant stance in all her fights and advocacies led to her being dubbed as “The Notorious R.B.G.”

As her new moniker implies, she expressed her mind with utmost honesty and never shied away from making controversial comments. Her conviction, her brilliance, and her courage helped shape a world that constantly fights for justice and equality. On September 18, 2020, she died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87 years old.

Here, we collected 20 Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to honor the legacy she left behind.

In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

ruth bader ginsburg marriage quotes

If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg change quotes

When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg women quotes

When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg fortune quotes

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg ability quotes

I tell law students… if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill—very much like a plumber. But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself… something that makes life a little better for people less fortunate than you. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My mother taught me to be a lady. And for her that meant be your own person, be independent. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg independent quotes

My idea of how choice should have developed was not a privacy notion, not a doctor’s right notion, but a woman’s right to control her own destiny, to be able to make choices without a Big Brother state telling her what she can and cannot do. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

ruth bader ginsburg fight quotes

I am optimistic in the long run. A great man once said the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle, it’s the pendulum, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg learning quotes

What’s the difference between a bookkeeper in New York’s garment district, which my mother was, and a supreme court justice? The difference is one generation. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg decisions quotes

We have made huge strides… but we have not reached nirvana. There’s still rampant discrimination on the basis of race, gender. It’s true that most of the explicit classifications – men are treated this way, women that way – are gone from the law books. But what remains is what has been called unconscious bias. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justices continue to think and can change, so I am every hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

ruth bader ginsburg justice quotes

Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Share these 20 Ruth Bader Ginsburg to spread the late Supreme Court Justice’s words of strength and wisdom.

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