Inspiring Quotes and Life Lessons From Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Jasmine Ting
·4 mins read
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday at age 87. Ginsburg was a prominent women's rights figure and United States Supreme Court justice whose writing and dissents have helped reshape the justice system.

She served as inspiration to many, and whether speaking about feminism, justice, LGBTQ+ rights, marriage, or just life in general, RBG always came to the table with wisdom to impart. Here are some of her many inspiring quotes.

"My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent." — Interview with Nina Totenberg

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

"The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices." — 1993 Senate Confirmation Hearings

"Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation." — The Record Vol. 56 No. 1, Winter 2001

"Reproductive choice has to be straightened out... There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often." — The New York Times, 2009

"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." Stanford Memorial Church, 2012

"So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune." — Makers interview, 2012

“Throwing out pre-clearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” —Dissent on the Supreme Court Voting Rights Act Ruling, 2013.

"People ask me sometimes, when—when do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine." — Georgetown Law School, 2015

Photo credit: Nikki Kahn
Photo credit: Nikki Kahn

"Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability and to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. Because I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid." —On how she'd like to be remembered, MSNBC interview, 2015

"I just read Anne-Marie Slaughter's book. She talked about 'we don’t have it all.' Who does? I’ve had it all in the course of my life, but at different times." — Conversation with Gloria Steinem in The New York Times, 2015

"I wish there was a way I could wave a magic wand and put back when people were respectful of each other and the Congress was working for the good of the country and not just along party lines. Someday there will be great people, great elected representatives who will say, ‘enough of this nonsense, let’s be the kind of legislature the United States should have.' I hope that day will come when I’m still alive." —Stanford Law School, 2017

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