Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case Of R.B.G. Vs. Inequality


“You owe it to the job to be a lady It’s the duty of the staff for to give the boss a whirl The wages that you get are crummy, maybe But it’s all you get cos you’re a girl” --Peggy Seeger “I’m Gonna Be an Engineer” (1972)

“The median salary for women working full time is about 80 percent of men’s. That gap, put in other terms, means women are working for free ten weeks a year. So if you’re a woman, you started working for free today.” -- Xaquín G.V. “Can We Talk About the Gender Pay Gap” The Washington Post, 10/26/17

“By the 1970s, a lot of women had had enough of this sort of treatment. They took part in protests and demonstrations with signs saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL JOBS, WOMEN’S LIBERATION, and EQUALITY! It wasn’t Ruth’s style to take part in protests, but she did do something. An organization called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked Ruth to be in charge of court cases involving women’s inequality. The reason they asked her? Because she was a woman, and they thought this was ‘women’s work!’ There was no end to this disrespect. Nonetheless, Ruth accepted the position, and in 1972 she became the leader of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project--a battle in the courts against unfairness to women. She was the lead lawyer for six Supreme Court cases, and she won five of them. Though Ruth herself was not a revolutionary, what she did for women was revolutionary. She won the right for women to get ‘equal protection’ of the laws--to be treated as equal to men.”

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: THE CASE OF R.B.G. VS. INEQUALITY is an inspiring picture book biography about one of the most powerful American woman in government today. As the title suggests, the story is framed as an attorney’s presentation of a court case. The story begins with the author’s “opening argument”, letting you know that you’re going to see evidence of an unfair world “where boys were valued more than girls, where women were not encouraged to achieve and aspire.” Author Jonah Winter then lays out the evidence about Ruth’s childhood in a poor family, and the marital and societal impediments she saw her mother face. Winter shows what Ruth had to overcome in order to graduate law school, get a job as a lawyer and, eventually, serve as Columbia’s first tenured female law professor.

Ginsburg served on the U.S. Court of Appeals and then, in 1993, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Clinton. There, Ginsburg has written “some of the most powerful, strongly worded dissents in Supreme Court history” and persevered through cancer treatments to maintain her place and her voice on the Court.

As the author concludes, “There can be just one verdict: Because she did not give up, because she refused to let other people define her limitations as a person, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has herself become a symbol of justice in America.”

Stacy Innerst’s gouache and ink illustrations are humorous and frequently moving. Following the story, the author provides an extensive glossary as well as an enlightening author’s note.

Women employees are still fighting to be treated equal to men. But thanks to the tenacity of the Notorious R.B.G., aspiring young women have a leg up on previous generations and can more readily see the way up through the glass ceiling.

48 pages   978-1-4197-2559-3    Ages  7-10

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California  USA

See more of his recommendations:

Read Alike:  I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy;  She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

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