By AZARIA HOWELL (she/her)

Described as a feminist icon, a mother, an American hero, a champion of women’s rights, a fighter, and a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. 

On the day that New Zealand marked the 127th anniversary of women getting the right to vote, the world learnt of the death of a gender equality champion – a death that shocked the world.

Ginsburg had served 27 years on the American Supreme Court before she passed, fighting for equal rights and leading the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. Her death came soon before the US election on November 3rd, and, if replaced under a Trump regime, would give the Supreme Court an overwhelming conservative majority. If the next Supreme Court Justice appointed is a conservative, they would have a 6:3 majority over the more progressive side of the court. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life fighting for women’s rights. She was a remarkable woman and a trailblazer for human rights. Her legal courage and powerful voice meant sexist laws were revoked. Before she was appointed as a Supreme Court Justice, she worked from the ground up, ensuring state and federal laws gave women and men equal opportunity.

A Cornell and Harvard alumna, Ruth’s death is an immense loss for the United States. During her time at University, she was only one of nine women in a class of 500; she faced enormous challenges and setbacks due to her gender. Nevertheless, she persisted. Ginsburg was elected to the Supreme Court in 1993, and spent the rest of her life championing equal rights. 

She famously protected the rights of women using the Constitution. “The words of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause — ‘nor shall any state deny to any person the equal protection of the laws.’ Well that word, ‘any person,’ covers women as well as men,” Ginsburg told NPR in an interview shortly before her passing. 

She made history as the second woman to be appointed to the US Supreme Court, nominated by then-president Bill Clinton. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent the last few years of her life focusing on the gender pay gap and ensuring employers allow women to access birth control in their healthcare plans. She died from cancer, a disease she had fought multiple times. 

Now she is gone, her legacy will continue to live on within the millions of women she inspired and fought for. 

AZARIA HOWELL is a huge politics nerd living in Christchurch. Expect lots of new political articles on Tearaway from her! She also loves snowboarding, Beagles, and wearing clunky boots.

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